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Denebola » Global Education http://www.denebolaonline.net The Award-Winning, Official School Newspaper of Newton South High School, Newton, MA Fri, 17 Jun 2011 02:00:19 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.0.2 Southern Sudan wins independence http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/04/15/southern-sudan-wins-independence/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/04/15/southern-sudan-wins-independence/#comments Fri, 15 Apr 2011 05:34:21 +0000 John-Henry Mcbreen http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5819 On July 9, 2011, a new country will join the international community. On that date, South Sudan will secede from Sudan, formerly Africa’s largest nation. According to the January 30 referendum in which 99 percent of the South Sudanese population voted for independence.
The vote was agreed upon in 2005 as part of a peace deal to end the Second Sudanese Civil War, which had raged since 1983.
During those 22 years, about two million Sudanese, mostly civilians, were killed. The war, largely a continuation of the First Sudanese Civil War, which lasted from 1955 to 1972, was caused, like most wars, by a variety of factors, including race and religion.
The North is populated by Muslim Arabs the South by Christian and Animist Africans.
The Northern-dominated central government, in attempting to extend its authority over the whole of its territory, alienated Southerners who had previously governed their own region when under British rule.
The single largest cause may be the exploitative nature and intentions of the government.
During the war, the North systematically cut off the South’s food supply and provided pro-North militias with weapons and ammunition.
More than 80 percent of Southerners were displaced by the fighting at some point in the 20-year period, many of whom fled to neighboring countries.
“It’s a very deliberate strategy on the part of the government of Sudan to depopulate large parts of southern Sudan,” Jeff Drumtra, a senior policy analyst with the United States Committee for Refugees, said.
Peace talks between the central government and the southern Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) made substantial progress beginning in 2003, and ultimately produced an agreement in 2005 that created an autonomous South Sudan that would hold an independence referendum in six years.
Until then, many South Sudanese government positions would remain held by Northerners, and oil revenues would be split between the government and the SPLA.
Though the split will probably produce peace, and certainly enjoys the popular support of the South, the economies of the newly separate nations may not be as stable as they were together.
The South is greatly underdeveloped. 11.2 percent of children die by the age of five, 40 percent of the population does not have access to clean water, 70 percent do not have access to adequate sanitation, and there is a huge lack of infrastructure.
The abundance of oil in South Sudan presents it with an enormous economic opportunity, but the collection and transportation presents an equally enormous challenge.
Acquiring efficient drilling machines is a challenge on its own, but especially complicated is the issue of an oil pipeline running through Sudan.
Cooperation with the Sudanese government will be required to use this pipeline, and although the president, Omar Hassan Al-Bashir, says he plans to cooperate, it could present problems in the future.
While the North has technology superior to the South, and the institutions necessary to run a country efficiently, the loss of South Sudanese oil will seriously harm its economy. 70 percent of Sudanese export earnings come from the sale of oil, and most of that oil is in the South.
However, if the government focuses more on to drilling for oil in North Sudan, which it must now do, it could probably pump more than the South because of the superior oil technology it possesses.
The Sudanese split may also benefit other countries as well. Currently, as gas prices rise around the world due to uprisings in the oil-rich Middle East, an influx of crude oil could dramatically decrease economic stress on gas-hungry countries like the U.S.
The combination of the North mining for more oil due to the loss of its Southern sources and the South mining for more oil to support its economy will increase the amount of oil in the market, and therefore lessen the cost per barrel, and per gallon.
Regardless of oil, the real issue in Sudan is peace. For a country locked in a civil war for the past 20 years, actual peace would be a welcome change, especially for the South in which most of the war was fought.
The country will be called the Republic of South Sudan “out of familiarity and convenience,” according to an independence commission.
However, other proposals, intended to convey a greater sense of independence, included Azania, the Nile Republic, the Kush Republic, and Juwama, an acronym for the nation’s three largest cities.
Although hopes are high for permanent peace within Sudan, the last peace agreement to end Sudan’s First Civil War only lasted 11 years.
However, this time the two countries are truly separate. Unless the split results in unviable economies, it will probably result in a lasting peace.

By John-Henry McBreenOn July 9, 2011, a new country will join the international community. On that date, South Sudan will secede from Sudan, formerly Africa’s largest nation. According to the January 30 referendum in which 99 percent of the South Sudanese population voted for independence. The vote was agreed upon in 2005 as part of a peace deal to end the Second Sudanese Civil War, which had raged since 1983.During those 22 years, about two million Sudanese, mostly civilians, were killed. The war, largely a continuation of the First Sudanese Civil War, which lasted from 1955 to 1972, was caused, like most wars, by a variety of factors, including race and religion.The North is populated by Muslim Arabs the South by Christian and Animist Africans. The Northern-dominated central government, in attempting to extend its authority over the whole of its territory, alienated Southerners who had previously governed their own region when under British rule. The single largest cause may be the exploitative nature and intentions of the government. During the war, the North systematically cut off the South’s food supply and provided pro-North militias with weapons and ammunition. More than 80 percent of Southerners were displaced by the fighting at some point in the 20-year period, many of whom fled to neighboring countries. “It’s a very deliberate strategy on the part of the government of Sudan to depopulate large parts of southern Sudan,” Jeff Drumtra, a senior policy analyst with the United States Committee for Refugees, said.Peace talks between the central government and the southern Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) made substantial progress beginning in 2003, and ultimately produced an agreement in 2005 that created an autonomous South Sudan that would hold an independence referendum in six years. Until then, many South Sudanese government positions would remain held by Northerners, and oil revenues would be split between the government and the SPLA.Though the split will probably produce peace, and certainly enjoys the popular support of the South, the economies of the newly separate nations may not be as stable as they were together. The South is greatly underdeveloped. 11.2 percent of children die by the age of five, 40 percent of the population does not have access to clean water, 70 percent do not have access to adequate sanitation, and there is a huge lack of infrastructure. The abundance of oil in South Sudan presents it with an enormous economic opportunity, but the collection and transportation presents an equally enormous challenge. Acquiring efficient drilling machines is a challenge on its own, but especially complicated is the issue of an oil pipeline running through Sudan. Cooperation with the Sudanese government will be required to use this pipeline, and although the president, Omar Hassan Al-Bashir, says he plans to cooperate, it could present problems in the future.While the North has technology superior to the South, and the institutions necessary to run a country efficiently, the loss of South Sudanese oil will seriously harm its economy. 70 percent of Sudanese export earnings come from the sale of oil, and most of that oil is in the South. However, if the government focuses more on to drilling for oil in North Sudan, which it must now do, it could probably pump more than the South because of the superior oil technology it possesses.The Sudanese split may also benefit other countries as well. Currently, as gas prices rise around the world due to uprisings in the oil-rich Middle East, an influx of crude oil could dramatically decrease economic stress on gas-hungry countries like the U.S. The combination of the North mining for more oil due to the loss of its Southern sources and the South mining for more oil to support its economy will increase the amount of oil in the market, and therefore lessen the cost per barrel, and per gallon.Regardless of oil, the real issue in Sudan is peace. For a country locked in a civil war for the past 20 years, actual peace would be a welcome change, especially for the South in which most of the war was fought. The country will be called the Republic of South Sudan “out of familiarity and convenience,” according to an independence commission. However, other proposals, intended to convey a greater sense of independence, included Azania, the Nile Republic, the Kush Republic, and Juwama, an acronym for the nation’s three largest cities.Although hopes are high for permanent peace within Sudan, the last peace agreement to end Sudan’s First Civil War only lasted 11 years. However, this time the two countries are truly separate. Unless the split results in unviable economies, it will probably result in a lasting peace.

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A Silver Lining for the Land of the Rising Sun http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/04/15/a-silver-lining-for-the-land-of-the-rising-sun/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/04/15/a-silver-lining-for-the-land-of-the-rising-sun/#comments Fri, 15 Apr 2011 05:33:17 +0000 Dylan Royce http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5817 As radiation and body counts continue to rise, one could be forgiven for predicting a gloomy future for Japan’s economy.
With thousands of people dead and billions of dollars worth of property lost, it is difficult to see how Japan’s catastrophic earthquake could do anything but harm it.
Yet, history suggests it could actually help. In 1995, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck near the city of Kobe, southwest of Tokyo.
While substantially less cataclysmic than this year’s disaster, it and the tsunami it produced still killed about 6,500 people and caused $100 billion in damage.
Last month’s earthquake, in contrast, may have killed up to 27,000 people and caused up to $309 billion in damage. While it is clearly much larger than its 1995 counterpart, the two earthquakes have much in common, including their timings.
Both occurred during times of economic contraction or stagnation, and the Kobe earthquake’s impact on the Japanese economy 16 years ago is probably a good indicator of what the Sendai earthquake’s effects will be.
The 1980s were good years for Japan’s economy. Its annual growth for the decade averaged 4.5 percent.
Yet, much of that growth was driven by unsustainable financial practices. In 1991, the bubble burst, and economic growth shrank to a trickle.
In 1992, economic growth totalled 3.32 percent. By 1993, it had fallen to 0.08 percent, and a year later was down to 0.02 percent. Had things continued along the same path, Japan’s economy would have shrunk in 1995. Instead, tragedy struck.
The Kobe earthquake caused damages equivalent to 2.1 percent of Japan’s annual GDP, yet triggered an economic rally that more than made up for it (though, of course, there is no way to make up for the lives lost and broken).
The economy grew 0.86 percent that year, 1.88 percent the next, and 2.64 percent in 1997. The disaster seemed to have reversed the fall. Unfortunately for the country, it fell victim to the 1997 Asian financial crisis the next year.
A series of economic calamities throughout East Asia hit other countries, such as Indonesia and South Korea, harder than they did Japan, but its neighbors’ devalued currencies reduced its companies’ ability to compete, causing the economy to again contract, growing only 1.56 percent in 1998 and actually shrinking 2.05 percent the following year.
But while the economy could not survive a second crisis, the 1995 earthquake seems to have reversed the first.
Economic growth during the three years preceding the disaster averaged 0.5 percent, while growth for the five years after it averaged 1.78 percent. Moreover, the economy expanded 7.1 percent during those years, more than making up for the 2.1 percent in damages.
As in 1995, Japan’s economy, and the world’s, is in crisis. Though it is, this time, exiting rather than entering a recovery, this one, like ours, has been slow.
It seems likely, however, that this year’s earthquake will do what its predecessor did, and trigger an economic expansion, if not boom.
Assuming that a second economic crisis does not strike, Japan’s economy could likely grow substantially in the coming years, fueled by consumer demand for replacement goods, employment provided by reconstruction efforts, and the Bank of Japan’s injection of $183 billion into the banking system.
The disaster, in fact, may be exactly what Japan needs to push its economy firmly out of recession.
Should it do so, the United States would do well to heed the lesson that economies can be saved using government spending and economic intervention. We do not need to wait on a disaster to put our own into practice.

As radiation and body counts continue to rise, one could be forgiven for predicting a gloomy future for Japan’s economy. With thousands of people dead and billions of dollars worth of property lost, it is difficult to see how Japan’s catastrophic earthquake could do anything but harm it. Yet, history suggests it could actually help. In 1995, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck near the city of Kobe, southwest of Tokyo. While substantially less cataclysmic than this year’s disaster, it and the tsunami it produced still killed about 6,500 people and caused $100 billion in damage.Last month’s earthquake, in contrast, may have killed up to 27,000 people and caused up to $309 billion in damage. While it is clearly much larger than its 1995 counterpart, the two earthquakes have much in common, including their timings. Both occurred during times of economic contraction or stagnation, and the Kobe earthquake’s impact on the Japanese economy 16 years ago is probably a good indicator of what the Sendai earthquake’s effects will be.The 1980s were good years for Japan’s economy. Its annual growth for the decade averaged 4.5 percent. Yet, much of that growth was driven by unsustainable financial practices. In 1991, the bubble burst, and economic growth shrank to a trickle. In 1992, economic growth totalled 3.32 percent. By 1993, it had fallen to 0.08 percent, and a year later was down to 0.02 percent. Had things continued along the same path, Japan’s economy would have shrunk in 1995. Instead, tragedy struck. The Kobe earthquake caused damages equivalent to 2.1 percent of Japan’s annual GDP, yet triggered an economic rally that more than made up for it (though, of course, there is no way to make up for the lives lost and broken).The economy grew 0.86 percent that year, 1.88 percent the next, and 2.64 percent in 1997. The disaster seemed to have reversed the fall. Unfortunately for the country, it fell victim to the 1997 Asian financial crisis the next year. A series of economic calamities throughout East Asia hit other countries, such as Indonesia and South Korea, harder than they did Japan, but its neighbors’ devalued currencies reduced its companies’ ability to compete, causing the economy to again contract, growing only 1.56 percent in 1998 and actually shrinking 2.05 percent the following year. But while the economy could not survive a second crisis, the 1995 earthquake seems to have reversed the first. Economic growth during the three years preceding the disaster averaged 0.5 percent, while growth for the five years after it averaged 1.78 percent. Moreover, the economy expanded 7.1 percent during those years, more than making up for the 2.1 percent in damages.As in 1995, Japan’s economy, and the world’s, is in crisis. Though it is, this time, exiting rather than entering a recovery, this one, like ours, has been slow. It seems likely, however, that this year’s earthquake will do what its predecessor did, and trigger an economic expansion, if not boom.Assuming that a second economic crisis does not strike, Japan’s economy could likely grow substantially in the coming years, fueled by consumer demand for replacement goods, employment provided by reconstruction efforts, and the Bank of Japan’s injection of $183 billion into the banking system.The disaster, in fact, may be exactly what Japan needs to push its economy firmly out of recession. Should it do so, the United States would do well to heed the lesson that economies can be saved using government spending and economic intervention. We do not need to wait on a disaster to put our own into practice.

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Civil war, foreign intervention in Libya http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/04/15/civil-war-foreign-intervention-in-libya/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/04/15/civil-war-foreign-intervention-in-libya/#comments Fri, 15 Apr 2011 05:29:03 +0000 Tori Yee http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5813 On September 1, 1969, Muammar Gaddafi and a cabal of young Libyan Army officers carried out a bloodless coup d’etat that overthrew the monarchy. Gaddafi quickly became the most powerful actor in the new government, and has ruled the country for the 42 years since.
Isolated incidents of dissent and resistance have punctuated his rule, and members of the Army attempted to assassinate Gaddafi in 1993. But the crisis he faces now is more dangerous to his rule than any crisis before.
Protests in Libya started in February, spurred by the turmoil spreading throughout the region, as well as complaints about high unemployment and demands for freedom and democracy.
A month later, unrest grew when police detained relatives of those killed in a 1996 massacre at the Abu Salim prison.
“He totally abandoned civilizing Libya. He neglected education and development projects. He left the majority of his people in the dark ages and built his might on fear through torturing and killing political dissidents in public,” Omar Amer, a member of a Libyan protest group, said.
By late February, Gaddafi’s control appeared to be slipping as Libyan government ministers defected in droves, and Benghazi and many other cities fell to anti-government control.
Rebel forces rapidly advanced west and took the majority of the crucial coastal cities, as well as Ra’s Lanuf, the largest oil refinery in the country.
Initial government counterattacks proved unsuccessful, but on March 6 the rebel advance was halted at Bin Jawad, about halfway to Tripoli.
Gaddafi’s forces then took the offensive, reversing the rebel advance and driving to the outskirts of Benghazi’s, the most important rebel-held city.
As governmental forces appeared poised to destroy the rebellion, the United Nations passed a resolution on March 17 that authorized foreign nations to establish a no-fly zone and protect civilian lives until both sides agreed to a ceasefire.
Gaddafi’s government quickly accepted the ceasefire, but it soon became clear that its forces were not abiding by it. French, American, and British aircraft and missile ships attacked Gaddafi’s army, sending it into retreat.
Once again, the rebels seemed to be on the verge of victory. However, as government troops switched easily targeted military vehicles for armed civilian ones and American command of the intervention was transferred to NATO, Gaddafi’s forces were able to halt the rebel counterattack at Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirt.
The tide once again turned, and Gaddafi’s forces began pushing the rebels back again. They currently hold slightly over one-third of the nation’s coastline.
On Monday, March 28, President Obama addressed the nation, explaining that although a no-fly zone has been established and bombs are being dropped, the US is not at war with Libya. Obama has made it clear that the U.S. is merely one participant in an international coalition operating under a United Nations resolution.
However, he has also indicated that Gaddafi’s removal is a goal of the U.S. This is contradictory to the UN resolution, which only called for a ceasefire and action necessary to enforce one.
If Gaddafi were to fall, it is unclear who would replace him. The most likely candidates are the Libyan tribes due to a long tradition of tribal loyalty equaling or trumping national loyalty.
Considered the most tribal nation in the Arab world, Libya has over 140 tribal groups. As opposed to Egypt and other Arab states, politics have a great deal to do with tribal alliances. One of Gaddafi’s most significant accomplishments is his stripping the tribes of their political power.
Currently, the majority of Libya’s 6.4 million people live in the capital Tripoli and other major cities, especially rebel-held Benghazi. The current uprising has provided the tribes with the opportunity to reassert their importance.
If Gaddafi does step down, the tribes could very well take power into their old hands. Many believe the tribes can help guarantee cohesiveness in a society where any form of organization, whether political or social, was discouraged for more than forty years.
Perhaps mindful of this, the rebel Libyan National Council has been careful to include figures from several important tribes, especially those concentrated in the west, among its members.
Though some tribes have remained loyal to Gaddafi, especially his own tribe, many others have thrown their lot in with the rebels.
Akram al-Warfalli, a leader of the powerful Warfalla tribe said in an interview, “We tell the brother Gadhafi, well, he is no longer a brother,” Mr. Warfalli said. ”We tell him to leave the country.”

By Tori YeeOn September 1, 1969, Muammar Gaddafi and a cabal of young Libyan Army officers carried out a bloodless coup d’etat that overthrew the monarchy. Gaddafi quickly became the most powerful actor in the new government, and has ruled the country for the 42 years since.Isolated incidents of dissent and resistance have punctuated his rule, and members of the Army attempted to assassinate Gaddafi in 1993. But the crisis he faces now is more dangerous to his rule than any crisis before.Protests in Libya started in February, spurred by the turmoil spreading throughout the region, as well as complaints about high unemployment and demands for freedom and democracy. A month later, unrest grew when police detained relatives of those killed in a 1996 massacre at the Abu Salim prison. ”He totally abandoned civilizing Libya. He neglected education and development projects. He left the majority of his people in the dark ages and built his might on fear through torturing and killing political dissidents in public,” Omar Amer, a member of a Libyan protest group, said.By late February, Gaddafi’s control appeared to be slipping as Libyan government ministers defected in droves, and Benghazi and many other cities fell to anti-government control. Rebel forces rapidly advanced west and took the majority of the crucial coastal cities, as well as Ra’s Lanuf, the largest oil refinery in the country.Initial government counterattacks proved unsuccessful, but on March 6 the rebel advance was halted at Bin Jawad, about halfway to Tripoli. Gaddafi’s forces then took the offensive, reversing the rebel advance and driving to the outskirts of Benghazi’s, the most important rebel-held city.As governmental forces appeared poised to destroy the rebellion, the United Nations passed a resolution on March 17 that authorized foreign nations to establish a no-fly zone and protect civilian lives until both sides agreed to a ceasefire. Gaddafi’s government quickly accepted the ceasefire, but it soon became clear that its forces were not abiding by it. French, American, and British aircraft and missile ships attacked Gaddafi’s army, sending it into retreat.Once again, the rebels seemed to be on the verge of victory. However, as government troops switched easily targeted military vehicles for armed civilian ones and American command of the intervention was transferred to NATO, Gaddafi’s forces were able to halt the rebel counterattack at Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirt.The tide once again turned, and Gaddafi’s forces began pushing the rebels back again. They currently hold slightly over one-third of the nation’s coastline.On Monday, March 28, President Obama addressed the nation, explaining that although a no-fly zone has been established and bombs are being dropped, the US is not at war with Libya. Obama has made it clear that the U.S. is merely one participant in an international coalition operating under a United Nations resolution. However, he has also indicated that Gaddafi’s removal is a goal of the U.S. This is contradictory to the UN resolution, which only called for a ceasefire and action necessary to enforce one. If Gaddafi were to fall, it is unclear who would replace him. The most likely candidates are the Libyan tribes due to a long tradition of tribal loyalty equaling or trumping national loyalty.    Considered the most tribal nation in the Arab world, Libya has over 140 tribal groups. As opposed to Egypt and other Arab states, politics have a great deal to do with tribal alliances. One of Gaddafi’s most significant accomplishments is his stripping the tribes of their political power.Currently, the majority of Libya’s 6.4 million people live in the capital Tripoli and other major cities, especially rebel-held Benghazi. The current uprising has provided the tribes with the opportunity to reassert their importance.If Gaddafi does step down, the tribes could very well take power into their old hands. Many believe the tribes can help guarantee cohesiveness in a society where any form of organization, whether political or social, was discouraged for more than forty years. Perhaps mindful of this, the rebel Libyan National Council has been careful to include figures from several important tribes, especially those concentrated in the west, among its members.Though some tribes have remained loyal to Gaddafi, especially his own tribe, many others have thrown their lot in with the rebels.Akram al-Warfalli, a leader of the powerful Warfalla tribe said in an interview, “We tell the brother Gadhafi, well, he is no longer a brother,” Mr. Warfalli said. ”We tell him to leave the country.”

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Rethinking American Policy in the Middle East http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/03/23/rethinking-american-policy-in-the-middle-east/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/03/23/rethinking-american-policy-in-the-middle-east/#comments Wed, 23 Mar 2011 05:59:20 +0000 Dylan Royce http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5698 In October 2010, the US announced two billion dollars in military aid to Pakistan. This is only the latest in a long series of aid packages to the country, both military and humanitarian.
America pours a huge amount of money not only into Pakistan, but into the entire Middle East. Discounting the enormous sums spent on combat and development in Iraq and Afghanistan (and lost to corruption there), the government spends billions of dollars on aid to various countries, most of which have autocratic regimes and/or generally anti-American populations.
The hope is that aid will both coerce the recipient governments to support American policies and stabilize the volatile region, freezing these hopefully pro-American governments in place. Essentially unconsidered is whether the regimes we are hoping to perpetuate are actually worth supporting, or whether they are even on our side.
Some nations are clearly not, shamelessly taking our money while simultaneously refusing to support or actively opposing American goals.
Our government must make it clear that while all peoples are entitled to humanitarian aid regardless of their governments’ policies, military aid is not a right, but a privilege—one that can be revoked at any time should a recipient go against American interests. In order to reestablish (or, perhaps, establish for the first time) American influence in the region, the United States must reconsider the relationships it has with every country. Countries found to be undeserving of military aid must either shape up or face the loss of it.
The best example of such a country is Pakistan. Despite receiving multiple billions of dollars annually, its government has not only failed to defeat the Taliban, but is almost certainly actively supporting it.
One Taliban logistics officer estimated that it provides 80 percent of his organization’s funding. While this particular figure is unverifiable, the general assertion that Pakistan is aiding the Taliban has been corroborated by other sources, including American diplomatic cables released on WikiLeaks, as well as Afghani officials. Afghani officials, in fact, have repeatedly stated that victory in the war will be impossible unless Pakistan stops supporting the insurgents.
The irony is that some of the money that Pakistan gives to the Taliban is probably American aid. Even if it is not, we are still funding the supporter of the enemy, which we already armed in the 1980s. We do not need to give them any more help.
If arming America’s main enemy in the War on Terror is not enough, Pakistan is also possibly sheltering Osama bin Laden.
Some sources, such as an anonymous NATO commander quoted by CNN, assert that Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the same one that supports the Taliban, is also providing America’s greatest enemy with houses in Northwest Pakistan. Rather than living in a cave, he may be shuttling between various dwellings subsidized by American funds.
We must demand that Pakistan crack down on religious extremism, cease funding terrorism of all kinds (especially the Taliban, but also Islamic terrorism in India), give up bin Laden if it has him, and launch an actual attempt to defeat the Taliban.
If it fails to do so, we will have no choice but to cut military aid and henceforth regard it as an unfriendly state. This would essentially be recognizing it for what it is: a nation that supports America’s enemies and passively harbors the perpetrators of 9/11. Pretending that it is our friend and continuing to pour money into its (and therefore the Taliban’s) coffers will not solve anything.
If we refuse to get tough with Pakistan and countries like it, we materially support the enemy while wasting our own finances, making us appear both weak and stupid to allies and foes alike.
In short, failure to reform our diplomatic efforts in the Middle East will destroy any remaining influence that we have in the region, as well as our chances of finally winning the War on Terror.

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Earthquake, tsunami devastate Japan; nuclear disaster feared http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/03/23/earthquake-tsunami-devastate-japan-nuclear-disaster-feared/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/03/23/earthquake-tsunami-devastate-japan-nuclear-disaster-feared/#comments Wed, 23 Mar 2011 05:50:08 +0000 Wendy Ma http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5630 On Friday, March 11, an earthquake reportedly measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale hit Japan, triggering a massive tsunami.  Early that morning, 300 were predicted dead, but by the afternoon, the death count had risen into the thousands, and the magnitude of the earthquake was raised to 9.0.  A 0.1 increase on the Richter scale is actually an increase of about 30 percent because the scale is logarithmic.
As of March 19, approximately 7,500 deaths had been confirmed, and 12,000 people are missing. Officials expect both numbers to rise.
Because Japan suffers frequent earthquakes, most buildings are built to withstand earthquakes under 7.5 on the Richter scale. This earthquake, however, was far stronger than anyone could have prepared for, and also triggered a devastating tsunami.
The tsunami hit Japan off the coast of Sendai, creating waves of up to 33 feet—the worst natural disaster in Japan’s recorded history.
Devastation, destruction, depression, cannot even begin to describe the horror of the disaster. Videos of the tragedy depict cars filled with families being swept right off the highway, people trying to outrun the raging tsunami, and countless homes being destroyed. In one video, a little boy wails for the mother whom he will never see again.
“Shocked” was the only word sophomore Hikaru Yonezaki could come up with when she heard the news about the disaster.
“I have family and friends there. My grandparents and relatives who live in the west (around 500 miles away from the area hit) said they felt a shake, but they seem to be doing OK,” Yonezaki said.
Japan is suffering from not only a terrible earthquake, hundreds of aftershocks, and a tsunami that that had washed away thousands of homes, but also from a potential nuclear meltdown from a reactor complex..
Japan possesses few energy sources and generates a quarter of its electricity through nuclear power.
“Nuclear facilities in Japan … were built to withstand earthquakes, but not a 9.0 earthquake,” CNN contributor and research associate James Walsh said.
The cooling systems of Dai-ichi and Dai-ni, two nuclear power plants on the east coast of Japan, have failed, causing explosions that emit radioactive vapor. Although the radiation emitted is not very harmful according to safety officials in Japan, everyone within an 18-mile radius of the power plants has been evacuated as a safety precaution.
Noriyuki Shikata, spokesman for Prime Minister Naoto Kan, asserted that the nuclear situation was “under control.” Since then, a state of emergency has been declared for the two primary nuclear plants.
“The nuclear explosion was completely unexpected. I had believed that the Japanese built those nuclear power plants in safe areas with rigid securities, and I still believe that. Even so, the explosion happened, and it was massive, too!” Yonezaki said.
Despite the current nuclear anxiety, experts do not expect a repeat of the disastrous 1986 Chernobyl meltdown in Ukraine, which is considered the worst nuclear meltdown of all time. Unlike Chernobyl, the Japanese reactors are enclosed by containment vessels to guard against eruption.
Although the magnitude of the nuclear explosions was not as bad as Chernobyl’s, Japan’s fear of nuclear radiation is increasing. The effects of the explosion have yet to be fully determined, but there is no doubt that the nuclear radiation will cause human fatalities in years to come.
The disaster has prompted other nations around the world to reconsider their use of nuclear power. Until now, there was bipartisan agreement in America over nuclear power, but many politicians are not so sure anymore.
“I think it calls on us here in the US, naturally, not to stop building nuclear power plants, but to put the brakes on right now until we understand the ramifications of what’s happened in Japan,” Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, the Independent from Connecticut and one of the Senate’s leading voices on energy, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
Massachusetts, which generates 11 percent of its electricity using nuclear power, is host to Pilgrim Nuclear Generation Plant in Plymouth, whose operating license will expire in about a year.
According to Dori Zaleznik, the Newton health commissioner, there is a chance that the radiation could drift from Japan to the US, but it is fairly unlikely. Countries closer to Japan, such as Russia, are much more worried.
In addition to the nuclear-related health concerns, Japan’s economy has been severely harmed by the impending disaster and many companies have halted production.
The Nikkei Stock Average, the index of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, has fallen over 2,500 points since the earthquake hit Japan.
“Everything is happening so fast. In the east, there’s a shortage on food, electronic power, gas, everything. Even things like clothing. They don’t have enough of that—and they’re running out,” Yonezaki said. Her concerns echo those of many Japanese citizens.
There are concerns that the shortage could eventually expand all over Japan as people evacuate to the west, which could further impede economic recovery.

On Friday, March 11, an earthquake reportedly measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale hit Japan, triggering a massive tsunami.  Early that morning, 300 were predicted dead, but by the afternoon, the death count had risen into the thousands, and the magnitude of the earthquake was raised to 9.0.  A 0.1 increase on the Richter scale is actually an increase of about 30 percent because the scale is logarithmic. As of March 19, approximately 7,500 deaths had been confirmed, and 12,000 people are missing. Officials expect both numbers to rise.Because Japan suffers frequent earthquakes, most buildings are built to withstand earthquakes under 7.5 on the Richter scale. This earthquake, however, was far stronger than anyone could have prepared for, and also triggered a devastating tsunami.The tsunami hit Japan off the coast of Sendai, creating waves of up to 33 feet—the worst natural disaster in Japan’s recorded history.  Devastation, destruction, depression, cannot even begin to describe the horror of the disaster. Videos of the tragedy depict cars filled with families being swept right off the highway, people trying to outrun the raging tsunami, and countless homes being destroyed. In one video, a little boy wails for the mother whom he will never see again.“Shocked” was the only word sophomore Hikaru Yonezaki could come up with when she heard the news about the disaster.“I have family and friends there. My grandparents and relatives who live in the west (around 500 miles away from the area hit) said they felt a shake, but they seem to be doing OK,” Yonezaki said.Japan is suffering from not only a terrible earthquake, hundreds of aftershocks, and a tsunami that that had washed away thousands of homes, but also from a potential nuclear meltdown from a reactor complex..Japan possesses few energy sources and generates a quarter of its electricity through nuclear power.“Nuclear facilities in Japan … were built to withstand earthquakes, but not a 9.0 earthquake,” CNN contributor and research associate James Walsh said.The cooling systems of Dai-ichi and Dai-ni, two nuclear power plants on the east coast of Japan, have failed, causing explosions that emit radioactive vapor. Although the radiation emitted is not very harmful according to safety officials in Japan, everyone within an 18-mile radius of the power plants has been evacuated as a safety precaution. Noriyuki Shikata, spokesman for Prime Minister Naoto Kan, asserted that the nuclear situation was “under control.” Since then, a state of emergency has been declared for the two primary nuclear plants. “The nuclear explosion was completely unexpected. I had believed that the Japanese built those nuclear power plants in safe areas with rigid securities, and I still believe that. Even so, the explosion happened, and it was massive, too!” Yonezaki said.Despite the current nuclear anxiety, experts do not expect a repeat of the disastrous 1986 Chernobyl meltdown in Ukraine, which is considered the worst nuclear meltdown of all time. Unlike Chernobyl, the Japanese reactors are enclosed by containment vessels to guard against eruption.Although the magnitude of the nuclear explosions was not as bad as Chernobyl’s, Japan’s fear of nuclear radiation is increasing. The effects of the explosion have yet to be fully determined, but there is no doubt that the nuclear radiation will cause human fatalities in years to come. The disaster has prompted other nations around the world to reconsider their use of nuclear power. Until now, there was bipartisan agreement in America over nuclear power, but many politicians are not so sure anymore. “I think it calls on us here in the US, naturally, not to stop building nuclear power plants, but to put the brakes on right now until we understand the ramifications of what’s happened in Japan,” Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, the Independent from Connecticut and one of the Senate’s leading voices on energy, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”  Massachusetts, which generates 11 percent of its electricity using nuclear power, is host to Pilgrim Nuclear Generation Plant in Plymouth, whose operating license will expire in about a year.According to Dori Zaleznik, the Newton health commissioner, there is a chance that the radiation could drift from Japan to the US, but it is fairly unlikely. Countries closer to Japan, such as Russia, are much more worried.In addition to the nuclear-related health concerns, Japan’s economy has been severely harmed by the impending disaster and many companies have halted production. The Nikkei Stock Average, the index of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, has fallen over 2,500 points since the earthquake hit Japan.“Everything is happening so fast. In the east, there’s a shortage on food, electronic power, gas, everything. Even things like clothing. They don’t have enough of that—and they’re running out,” Yonezaki said. Her concerns echo those of many Japanese citizens. There are concerns that the shortage could eventually expand all over Japan as people evacuate to the west, which could further impede economic recovery.

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Student recounts February trip to Peru http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/03/23/student-recounts-february-trip-to-peru/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/03/23/student-recounts-february-trip-to-peru/#comments Wed, 23 Mar 2011 04:52:42 +0000 Sammie Levin http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5695 Along with 14 other South upperclassmen and Spanish teachers Viviana Planine and Marla Weiner,  I recently spent two and one-half weeks in Peru—or as some fondly call it, “Peraah”—on a language and community service trip.
From February 16 through March 4, we toured the country, lived with Peruvian families, took Spanish classes, worked in local orphanages, suffered excruciating stomach pains, and (most importantly) dined on fine cuisine. It was an eye-opening experience that I am sure none of us will ever forget.
In the beginning of the trip, we spent the days sightseeing and the nights staying together in hostels.
We started in Lima, walking and busing around the city, and then took a plane to Cusco and toured neighboring cities and villages.
We saw Incan ruins, learned about ancient rituals and the process of dying and weaving threads, and ate at a lot of buffets.
Since the elevation of Cusco is nearly 11,000 feet, the first few days were spent acclimating to the high altitude with the help of a plethora of medication and mate de coca (an herbal tea made using the leaves of the cocoa plant).
Some fared better than others. We kept a day-by-day log of who on the trip was still “alive”—senior Jenny Fleisher was the final survivor. “What a champ,” senior Max Levine wrote about her on his frequently updated Facebook status.
On Sunday, February 20, we went to Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Words cannot really do Machu Picchu justice—even “majestic,” which almost always gets the job done, sells it short.
To get there, we took a lethal bus ride up a narrow, winding mountain. In 30 minutes, there we were, facing the beautiful, expansive “Lost City of the Incans.”
We walked throughout it as we learned about its history from our fearless guide, Percy. Despite a downpour of rain toward the end, it was amazing. That night we (sans my backpack) traveled back to Cusco to begin the homestay portion of the trip.
For the next two weeks, we stayed with families in houses spread throughout the city. There were two travelers in each house, except for Levine (“El Valiente”), who stayed alone. Senior Blair Borden and I lived with Doris, a lovely 60 year-old woman, and her 90 year-old mother—our dear abuelita—while many other students had younger kids in their houses.
Mondays through Fridays, we took Spanish classes at a nearby school for four hours in the morning. We were divided by level into classes of about two to five students each. They were very different from Spanish classes at South, in the sense that they were conducted entirely in Spanish and were based largely on casual conversations.
“My Spanish improved twofold,” senior Alex Seibel said.
After school, we would all return to our separate houses to eat lunch with our families. In Peru, the custom is to have a large lunch and small dinner. A typical lunch consisted of soup, a main course such as chicken and rice, and fruit.
After lunch, we went to orphanages for approximately three hours. We were divided among several orphanages, some for babies and young kids, and others for adolescents and young adults.
We talked with the kids, taught them English, played games with them, and got our hair braided (or put into cornrows—long hair, don’t care).
Though it was sad to be in the orphanages, many students made lasting bonds with the kids and learned a lot. “Working with the kids in the orphanages was really rewarding and forced us to learn Spanish quickly,” Borden said.
At night, we ate dinner with our families, but since dinners were small, we usually met up afterwards to eat at local cafes and restaurants. Pancakes with caramelized bananas were a group favorite.
On weekends, we did not go to school or the orphanages; instead, we went on sightseeing excursions. We visited several markets, more Incan ruins, and a farm with alpacas and llamas.
We accomplished a lot, covered significant territory, and made countless memories in our two and one-half week stay in Peru. Though there were some things we were ready to say goodbye to—like the lack of oxygen, the reckless drivers, “the trucha,” and the aggressive recruiters of InkaTeam—it was really hard to leave. I strongly recommend the trip and truly hope that I will go back sometime in the future.

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Italian PM Berlusconi in another legal battle http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/03/23/italian-pm-berlusconi-in-another-legal-battle/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/03/23/italian-pm-berlusconi-in-another-legal-battle/#comments Wed, 23 Mar 2011 04:50:27 +0000 Peter Natov http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5693 Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has found himself in yet another legal battle. This time, Berlusconi faces an indictment for paying for sex with the underage Moroccan nightclub belly dancer Karima el Mahroug, also known as Ruby Rubacuori, or “Ruby the Heart-Stealer.”
Reports of a sexual liaison between Berlusconi and Mahroug arose after she was arrested in May 2010 for theft.
Berlusconi called the head of the Milan police department and pressed for her release, claiming that Mahroug was the granddaughter of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and that a diplomatic crisis would arise if she were not let go, which she was.
Both the 74-year-old Berlusconi and the now 18-year-old Mahroug deny having sex with each other, but Mahroug has admitted that she attended sex parties at Berlusconi’s mansion outside of Milan.
She claims that during one of the parties she met Berlusconi, who brought her upstairs to give her €7,000 and some jewelry.
Now Berlusconi is set to face a trial for paying for sex with an underage girl (Mahroug was 17 at the time) and for abusing his power as prime minister to win Mahroug’s release from custody.
Berlusconi’s lawyer, Niccolo Ghedini, says that Berlusconi plans to attend all of the trials in the upcoming months. The prime minister and his lawyer deny all allegations and claim the trial is politically motivated.
The trial, however, not only concerns the allegation of sex with an underage girl, but also two other charges: one of bribery and one of corruption.
Silvio Berlusconi has been elected prime minister on three separate occasions, first serving in 1994, then from 2001 to 2006, and most recently since 2008.
Founding his own political party, Forza Italia, or “Go Italy,” in 1993, Berlusconi became the Italian Prime Minister a year later, serving for six months.
Leading a center-right party, Berlusconi attempted to forge a powerful right-wing alliance in order to dominate Italian politics, but was unsuccessful. His coalition collapsed after only seven months in office as he faced accusations of tax fraud in Milan.
Listed as the 74th richest man in the world by Forbes magazine, Berlusconi has a net worth of over $9 billion from his business successes.
Owner of A.C. Milan, one of the most prestigious soccer clubs in the world, Berlusconi has amassed his wealth by working in the television, newspaper, publishing, cinema, finance, banking, and insurance industries. His company Mediaset broadcasts three television channels, half of the Italian television market.
The trial that Berlusconi will face later this year will not be his first. Since he entered politics 17 years ago, he has received numerous accusations of corruption, bribery, embezzlement, tax fraud, false accounting, attempting to bribe a judge, and other crimes.
Berlusconi claims to be the victim of the Italian judicial authorities and estimates that he has made over 2,500 court appearances in 106 different trials. Through it all, he has denied the accusations and has never been convicted of anything serious.
Although Berlusconi has evaded accusations in the past, the trial he will face in the coming months may finally end his reign as prime minister.
Other blights on his reputation, including his alleged links to the Italian mafia, his support of Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko, and his attempts at reconciliation with Libyan despot Muammar Qaddafi, may finally be catching up with him.
Politicians and regular Italians are increasingly suggesting that his crimes are both an embarrassment for and a danger to Italy.

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Protests, bloodshed, and hope in the Middle East http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/03/23/bloodshed-hope/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/03/23/bloodshed-hope/#comments Wed, 23 Mar 2011 04:42:44 +0000 Lizzie Odvarka http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5689 On December 17, 2010, a Tunisian street vendor named Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in front of a government building to protest police corruption. He almost certainly had no idea what kind of effect his single act would have.
The next day, unrest broke out in his country, with protesters demanding an end to corruption, one-party rule, and poor living and economic conditions.  The unrest crossed into neighboring Algeria ten days later, and then spread like wildfire into Libya, Jordan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and other, mostly Arab, nations.
The Tunisian revolt ended on January 14, in what appeared to be a victory for the protesters, when the Tunisian president, Ben Ali, fled the country for exile in Saudi Arabia.
Protests continued, however, demanding that Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi resign and the ruling party be dissolved. Both demands were met on February 27 and March 9, respectively. Unrest continues, however, and more than 200 have died.
The Tunisian revolution is fairly emblematic of the unrest, which is protesting, generally, authoritarian regimes, corruption, and economic stagnation.
One other country has successfully undergone a revolution: Egypt. Protests that began on January 25 quickly evolved into a gigantic movement that included the occupation of Tahrir, or Liberation, Square.
Despite attacks on the protesters made by police and government thugs, the protesters held on to the massive plaza for weeks, eventually resulting in the resignation of Hosni Mubarak as president, transferring all power to a provisional military council.
The council has carried out most of the protesters’ demands, including the dissolution of the rubber-stamp parliament and the hated secret police and the release of political prisoners. Martial law has not yet been repealed, but the council promises to. Constitutional referendums and elections are pending. There are believed to have been almost 700 deaths.
In Jordan, leftists, trade unionists, and Islamists demonstrated, starting on January 14, demanding improved living standards, an end to corruption, and the popular election of a prime minister. King Abdullah has formed a new government and asked it to “take quick, concrete, and practical steps to launch a genuine political reform process.”
Bahrain, a tiny, relatively wealthy island nation north of Saudi Arabia, has not escaped the turmoil. Initial protests sought to secure greater political freedom and human rights. Following police violence against protesters, resulting in several deaths, the opposition’s goals expanded to the abolition of the Sunni monarchy that rules the mostly Shi’ite country.
The stationing of the US Fifth Fleet in the country, fears that Iran could take advantage of the chaos to gain influence or control in the country that it has historical claims to, and the stationing of Saudi Arabian forces in the country at the request of King Al Khalifa, further complicate the situation.
Iran has already made significant gains thanks to the chaos. Iranian ships have entered the Mediterranean Sea for the first time since its revolution in 1979, and Western powers are concerned that potential Shi’ite gains, in Bahrain, Yemen, or other countries, could further expand its influence.
But while Iran’s government declares its support for the protesters in other nations, it is facing its most serious opposition since the abortive Green Revolution of 2009.
The government-organized celebration of the 32nd anniversary of the Iranian Revolution was poorly attended, and opposition leaders called for protests on the 14th. Despite the arrests of aides to opposition leaders Mousavi and Karroubi and the use of violence against protesters, up to a third of a million marched in Tehran alone, chanting, “Mubarak, Ben Ali, now it’s time for Seyed Ali [Khamenei].”
Iranian Parmida Maghsoudlou, a senior at South, voiced her support for the uprisings, saying that the protests are “a way of standing up against the dictatorship in the name of a republic in Iran.
“The government is a one-man government that controls every aspect in people’s lives—he should be stopped and this is the way of telling him, as well as the world, how the people feel and what they are able to do for freedom.”
Yemen is not only racked by protests, but may be coming apart at the seams. Home to perhaps the most powerful branch of Al-Qaeda and threatened by a secessionist rebellion in the South and a Shi’ite uprising in the North, its president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, is rapidly losing support in all sections of society.
Leaders of his own tribe have abandoned him, and thousands of protesters have taken to the streets, demanding his resignation.
Saleh, who has ruled for 30 years, has stated that he won’t run for another term, but protests have continued nevertheless. On Friday, thousands gathered in the capital of Sana’a. The peaceful protest quickly became a bloodbath as snipers fired on protesters and children from the rooftops as police blocked escape routes using tear gas and flaming barricades.
A shocking 46 were found dead and hundreds were wounded. Mohammad al-Sabri, an opposition spokesman, calls it a massacre, blaming Saleh for the bloodshed.
Upon learning of the tragedy, President Obama demanded that Saleh publicly announce his consent to peaceful demonstrations. Instead, Saleh has declared a 30-day state of emergency that prohibits citizens from carrying weapons and allows his security forces to intervene in the protests, creating new tensions between Yemen and the United States.
Moammar al-Gaddafi, however, makes Saleh seem meek in comparison. The 40-year ruler of Libya, he has ruthlessly cracked down on protesters demanding massive political and economic changes.
Gaddafi loyalists have violently crushed uprisings in the capital, Tripoli, but lost control of much of the country’s East in the first few days of unrest. Unlike other countries, Libya’s uprising has evolved into a fully-fledged rebellion. Initially, rebel forces drove deep into the West, making it appear for a time that they might even seize Tripoli.
Mercenaries and loyal military units counterattacked, however, and the rebels have lost much of their gains over the past week. On March 17, the UN Security Council approved a no-fly zone over Libya, authorizing willing nations to intervene in Libya to protect civilian lives.
Several nations, including France and the United States, which launched missiles at several targets on the Libyan coast, intervened starting on March 21.
The total death toll for all the protests and revolutions is over 11,000, of which at least 6,000 are Libyan.
It remains to be seen whether the Libyan rebellion or any of the uprisings will succeed, but protesters seem willing to lay down their lives, if necessary, to secure the basic rights and freedoms that most of the Western world enjoys.

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Wikileaks: Heroism http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/12/06/wikileaks-heroism/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/12/06/wikileaks-heroism/#comments Mon, 06 Dec 2010 06:35:19 +0000 Ben Tolkin http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5168 WikiLeaks has made international headlines again, with its most recent release of hundreds of thousands of classified diplomatic cables.
Cyber attacks have taken down most WikiLeaks websites. Counter attacks by internet protestors are taking down Amazon and Mastercard. WikiLeaks’s Bond villain-esque editor, Julian Assange, was recently arrested in Britain for sex crimes. Anarchists are cackling in the street as the established global order is torn apart.
Well, not that last one. But from much of the rhetoric tossed about in the last few weeks from politicians like Mike Huckabee, who urged for Assange’s execution, you’d think WikiLeaks was bent on destroying the US government. But if we look past the reactions and to the facts, it becomes clear that WikiLeaks’ effect on the United States is positive, both to our democracy and to our safety.
The first thing to get out of the way is that the documents released usually tended to confirm what those paying attention already suspected. Media figures who express shock that Saudi Arabia would urge the US to attack Iran evidently haven’t been paying attention for the last 30 years.
We supported dictatorships in Central Asia to help us in the War in Afghanistan!? Wow! We haven’t done something that crazy since we supported dictatorships in Southeast Asia and Korea and South America and Indonesia and the Middle East!
The only thing surprising about, say, news that Hilary Clinton ordered spying missions on key UN leaders is that we weren’t running missions earlier. We have a whole agency devoted to espionage; I assume their budget is going somewhere. Every world leader knows exactly how diplomacy is conducted.
It’s messy and complicated and a lot of the time, the US ends up spying on people or intimidating governments or getting friendly with dictators. To paraphrase Defense Secretary Robert Gates, other nations don’t deal with the United States because they like or trust us.
They deal with us because at best, they respect us, and at worst, they fear us. These documents are embarrassing, but hardly surprising.
That said, the release of these documents is hardly irrelevant. We live in a democracy, and as Thomas Jefferson said, information is the currency of democracy.
It is precisely the messy, complicated nature of diplomacy that is so infrequently communicated to the average American voter. If only WikiLeaks had existed in 2003! When Bush, Rumsfeld, and Powell were explaining how certain they were that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, imagine if we’d seen the actual intelligence they were basing that on!
Knowing that, for example, Turkish authorities allowed weapons to be smuggled to al Qaeda strikes me as relevant to the American people. The better informed we are about both what is happening around the world and what our government is doing, the better our democracy can function.
But there’s another positive benefit of WikiLeaks that is often overlooked. WikiLeaks is not a spying or intelligence-gathering organization, it is a publishing organization. It is a way for leaked documents to be published anonymously.
So who does the leaking? Just about anybody. “Every other government in the world knows the United States government leaks like a sieve, and it has for a long time, Robert Gates said.
Many recently leaked documents have been traced back to Private First Class Bradley Manning, a low-level intelligence officer who was fed up with the need to conceal his sexual orientation under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, and covertly copied upwards of 90,000 documents onto blank CDs of Lady Gaga music (evidently listening to Gaga does not count as “telling).
The arrest of the mysterious, outspoken, and strangely attractive Julian Assange will not only do nothing to stop WikiLeaks; stopping WikiLeaks would do nothing to stop leaking of documents. One of the more controversial releases was a list of areas considered by the United States as vulnerable to a devastating terrorist attack.
But envision a world without WikiLeaks releasing documents in bundles for the world to see. Any disgruntled officer could still leak the document, and just pass it covertly to an unknown power, without the knowledge of the US government.
The only thing worse than having your documents released publicly is having them released privately. What WikiLeaks shows the government is that it can not rely on secrecy to protect the American people.
Documents get leaked. The best policy is honesty, transparency, and tangible actions to make America safe.

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Wikileaks: Treason http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/12/06/wikileaks-treason/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/12/06/wikileaks-treason/#comments Mon, 06 Dec 2010 06:30:47 +0000 Connie Gong http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5171 Wikileaks has made front page news once again for its recent release of thousands of pages of confidential diplomatic cables. This comes only months after the October 2010 release of over 400,000 documents regarding the Iraq War and the July 2010 release of 92,000 documents related to the War in Afghanistan.
The site’s stated goal is to ensure that whistleblowers and journalists are not jailed for releasing sensitive documents, an excuse the site has used to justify the indiscriminant release of confidential information that has thrown American diplomacy into a crisis.
In the name of transparency, Wikileaks has openly revealed intimate operational details about the United States’ military operations within Iraq and Afghanistan, including the identities of informants and undercover allies.
Every piece of information providing Americans with an uncensored glimpse into foreign policy developments also allows foreign governments and American enemies similar insight. Covers are blown, intelligence networks are disrupted, and American agents lose their ability to access information necessary to protect the lives of American citizens, at home and abroad.
The problem with Wikileaks is not the site’s attempts to promote transparency, but rather its disregard for the detrimental ramifications of the information it releases. Site founder Julian Assange has been widely criticized for his egotism, recklessness, and notorious anti-war agenda. Wikileaks, under Assange’s lead, seems to be more about self-promotion and sensational new-making than about providing the public with unbiased, prudent information.
Sometimes, secrecy is necessary for the preservation of our nation’s security and the safety of our citizens. We elect officials to represent us because we don’t have the time or knowledge or experience to deal with the complexities of international relations and diplomacy.
In doing so, we place a certain amount of trust in our government to weigh repercussions and make decisions that will create favorable outcomes. Our leaders spend their time considering the political situation of our country, and without that level of knowledge and experience, the hasty conclusions we come to may not be in our best interest.
This doesn’t mean we follow our government blindly, but it does mean we shouldn’t demand complete transparency at all levels of government operation. We allow the CIA and the military to keep secrets because complete openness would leave all of us vulnerable to the whims of radical or ignorant minorities.
Wikileaks cannot seem to determine when its revelations will have positive impacts and when they will cause irrevocable damage to the United States. In the recent leak of thousands of US diplomatic cables, many of the documents held nothing that would inform the public or lead us to make reforms to improve our policies.
Even informative documents came at a heavy cost, revealing details that deeply strained diplomatic relations, damaged alliances, damaged US prestige and endangered foreign diplomats.
Many cables contained information that amounted to no more than highly classified and damaging gossip. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was described as feckless, vain and ineffective. Libyan leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi apparently rarely travels without the companionship of his senior Ukrainian nurse, “a voluptuous blonde.
Another account mocked Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe “deep ignorance on economic issues (coupled with the belief that his 18 doctorates give him the authority to suspend the laws of economics).
More substantial cables revealed that Saudi Arabia has repeatedly urged the United States to launch air strikes on Iran to eradicate its nuclear program; the Yemeni government has been covering up US air strikes on suspected Al Qaeda militants; American diplomats to the UN were instructed to gather computer passwords, credit card numbers, and biometric information about top UN officials; China attempted to hack into Google’s servers as part of an elaborate sabatoge plan; and the US and South Korea have plans for invading North Korea after Pyongyang’s hypothetical collapse.
These revelations have the potential to disrupt American operations abroad, in ways that may be impossible to predict. One effect that is certain: America’s credibility on the world stage is collapsing, as it reveals itself incapable of protecting classified information.

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