Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas 2010 at the Buddhist's House

Since I will be spending Christmas 2010 and New Year 2011 in Saigon, we had our Christmas dinner tonight.

Here are the kids wearing their presents from me.

Friday, December 17, 2010

La relève

Quand mon plus jeune était petit, il avait pour passion le skateboard et pour héros/idole Tony Hawk. Par osmose, j'ai acquis le vocabulaire technique des skaters: ollie, kickflip, etc... Aujourd'hui, il a changé de passion et troqué sa planche pour des souliers de b-boy. Mais sa "soeur" (notre première chienne) n'a pas oublié et quand, durant nos promenades le soir, elle entend les roues d'un skater, elle devient toute agitée et cherche des yeux la silhouette de son "frère".

Today, I found out in Le Monde that Tony Hawk has a successor: Kilian Martin, from Spain. Lo and behold:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The competition

As you all know, I'm a translator. Sad to say, with Google translation, my services seem to be less and less in demand. And yet, I think I can still eke out a living.

From: Bits and Pieces

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

CT Scan

I recently took a CT Scan because of headaches and loss of taste (Gustative taste!!! No comments about the way I dress, OK?), that made me suspect the presence of a brain tumor.

Here are the results of the scan.

Wikileaks receives Truth Teller Award

The following statement was released today, signed by Daniel Ellsberg, Frank Grevil, Katharine Gun, David MacMichael, Ray McGovern, Craig Murray, Coleen Rowley and Larry Wilkerson; all are associated with Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence. (Source:

WikiLeaks has teased the genie of transparency out of a very opaque bottle, and powerful forces in America, who thrive on secrecy, are trying desperately to stuff the genie back in. The people listed below this release would be pleased to shed light on these exciting new developments.

How far down the U.S. has slid can be seen, ironically enough, in a recent commentary in Pravda (that's right, Russia's Pravda): "What WikiLeaks has done is make people understand why so many Americans are politically apathetic ... After all, the evils committed by those in power can be suffocating, and the sense of powerlessness that erupts can be paralyzing, especially when ... government evildoers almost always get away with their crimes...."

So shame on Barack Obama, Eric Holder, and all those who spew platitudes about integrity, justice and accountability while allowing war criminals and torturers to walk freely upon the earth.... the American people should be outraged that their government has transformed a nation with a reputation for freedom, justice, tolerance and respect for human rights into a backwater that revels in its criminality, cover-ups, injustices and hypocrisies.

Odd, isn't it, that it takes a Pravda commentator to drive home the point that the Obama administration is on the wrong side of history. Most of our own media are demanding that WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange be hunted down - with some of the more bloodthirsty politicians calling for his murder. The corporate-and-government dominated media are apprehensive over the challenge that WikiLeaks presents. Perhaps deep down they know, as Dickens put it, "There is nothing so strong ... as the simple truth."

As part of their attempt to blacken WikiLeaks and Assange, pundit commentary over the weekend has tried to portray Assange's exposure of classified materials as very different from - and far less laudable than - what Daniel Ellsberg did in releasing the Pentagon Papers in 1971. Ellsberg strongly rejects the mantra "Pentagon Papers good; WikiLeaks material bad." He continues: "That's just a cover for people who don't want to admit that they oppose any and all exposure of even the most misguided, secretive foreign policy. The truth is that EVERY attack now made on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was made against me and the release of the Pentagon Papers at the time."

Motivation? WikiLeaks' reported source, Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, having watched Iraqi police abuses, and having read of similar and worse incidents in official messages, reportedly concluded, "I was actively involved in something that I was completely against." Rather than simply go with the flow, Manning wrote: "I want people to see the truth ... because without information you cannot make informed decisions as a public," adding that he hoped to provoke worldwide discussion, debates, and reform.

There is nothing to suggest that WikiLeaks/Assange's motives were any different. Granted, mothers are not the most impartial observers. Yet, given what we have seen of Assange’s behavior, there was the ring of truth in Assange’s mother’s recent remarks in an interview with an Australian newspaper. She put it this way: "Living by what you believe in and standing up for something is a good thing.... He sees what he is doing as a good thing in the world, fighting baddies, if you like."

That may sound a bit quixotic, but Assange and his associates appear the opposite of benighted. Still, with the Pentagon PR man Geoff Morrell and even Attorney General Eric Holder making thinly disguised threats of extrajudicial steps, Assange may be in personal danger.

The media: again, the media is key. No one has said it better than Monseñor Romero of El Salvador, who just before he was assassinated 25 years ago warned, "The corruption of the press is part of our sad reality, and it reveals the complicity of the oligarchy." Sadly, that is also true of the media situation in America today.

The big question is not whether Americans can "handle the truth." We believe they can. The challenge is to make the truth available to them in a straightforward way so they can draw their own conclusions - an uphill battle given the dominance of the mainstream media, most of which have mounted a hateful campaign to discredit Assange and WikiLeaks.

So far, the question of whether Americans can "handle the truth" has been an academic rather than an experience-based one, because Americans have had very little access to the truth. Now, however, with the WikiLeaks disclosures, they do. Indeed, the classified messages from the Army and the State Department released by WikiLeaks are, quite literally, "ground truth."

How to inform American citizens? As a step in that direction, on October 23 we "Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence" (see below) presented our annual award for integrity to Julian Assange. He accepted the honor "on behalf of our sources, without which WikiLeaks' contributions are of no significance." In presenting the award, we noted that many around the world are deeply indebted to truth-tellers like WikiLeaks and its sources.

Here is a brief footnote: Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence (SAAII) is a group of former CIA colleagues and other admirers of former intelligence analyst Sam Adams, who hold up his example as a model for those who would aspire to the courage to speak truth to power. (For more, please see here.)

Sam did speak truth to power on Vietnam, and in honoring his memory, SAAII confers an award each year to a truth-teller exemplifying Sam Adams' courage, persistence, and devotion to truth - no matter the consequences. Previous recipients include:

• Coleen Rowley of the FBI
• Katharine Gun of British Intelligence
• Sibel Edmonds of the FBI
• Craig Murray, former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan
• Sam Provance, former Sgt., US Army
• Frank Grevil, Maj., Danish Army Intelligence
• Larry Wilkerson, Col., US Army (ret.)
• Julian Assange, WikiLeaks

"There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nothing hidden that will not be made known. Everything you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight; what you have whispered in locked rooms will be proclaimed from the rooftops."
- Luke 12:2-3

The following former awardees and other associates have signed the above statement; some are available for interviews:


A former government analyst, Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers, a secret government history of the Vietnam War to the New York Times and other newspapers in 1971. He was an admirer of Sam Adams when they were both working on Vietnam and in March 1968 disclosed to the New York Times some of Adams' accurate analysis, helping head off reinforcement of 206,000 additional troops into South Vietnam and a widening of the war at that time to neighboring countries.

FRANK GREVILThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Grevil, a former Danish intelligence analyst, was imprisoned for giving the Danish press documents showing that Denmark's Prime Minister (now NATO Secretary General) disregarded warnings that there was no authentic evidence of WMD in Iraq; in Copenhagen, Denmark.


Gun is a former British government employee who faced two years imprisonment in England for leaking a U.S. intelligence memo before the invasion of Iraq. The memo indicated that the U.S. had mounted a spying "surge" against U.N. Security Council delegations in early 2003 in an effort to win approval for an Iraq war resolution. The leaked memo - published by the British newspaper The Observer on March 2, 2003 -- was big news in parts of the world, but almost ignored in the United States. The U.S. government then failed to obtain a U.N. resolution approving war, but still proceeded with the invasion.

DAVID MacMICHAELThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

MacMichael is a former CIA analyst. He resigned in the 1980s when he came to the conclusion that the CIA was slanting intelligence on Central America for political reasons. He is a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

RAY McGOVERNThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

McGovern was a CIA analyst for 27 years, whose duties included preparing and briefing the President's Daily Brief and chairing National Intelligence Estimates. He is on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

CRAIG MURRAYThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Murray, former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, was fired from his job when he objected to Uzbeks being tortured to gain "intelligence" on "terrorists." Upon receiving his Sam Adams award, Murray said, "I would rather die than let someone be tortured in an attempt to give me some increment of security." Observers have noted that Murray was subjected to similar character assassination techniques as Julian Assange is now encountering to discredit him.

COLEEN ROWLEYThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Rowley, a former FBI Special Agent and Division Counsel whose May 2002 memo described some of the FBI's pre-9/11 failures, was named one of Time Magazine's "Persons of the Year" in 2002. She recently co-wrote a Los Angeles Times op-ed titled, "WikiLeaks and 9/11: What If? Frustrated investigators might have chosen to leak information that their superiors bottled up, perhaps averting the terrorism attacks."


Wilkerson, Col., U.S. Army (ret.), former chief of staff to Secretary Colin Powell at the State Department, who criticized what he called the "Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal."

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Soutien du monde politique

Tiré du Monde d'aujourd'hui:

La haute commissaire aux droits de l'homme de l'ONU, Navi Pillay, s'est dite inquiète, jeudi 9 décembre, des pressions exercées sur les compagnies offrant des services au site WikiLeaks, qui, ces dernières semaines, a diffusé des milliers de documents secrets de la diplomatie américaine en collaboration avec cinq grands quotidiens internationaux, dont Le Monde.

"Je suis préoccupée par des informations faisant état de pressions exercées sur des compagnies privées, dont des banques, des sociétés émettrices de cartes bancaires ainsi que des fournisseurs de sites Internet pour qu'ils ferment leurs lignes de crédit pour des dons destinés à WikiLeaks", a expliqué Mme Pillay au cours d'une conférence de presse. Elle a également dénoncé des pressions visant à empêcher l'hébergement du site. Ces dernières "peuvent être interprétées comme une tentative de censure contre la publication d'informations, et pourrait potentiellement constituer une violation du droit à la liberté d'expression de WikiLeaks", a-t-elle ajouté.

"Si WikiLeaks a commis des actes reconnus comme illégaux, cela doit être traité dans le cadre de la législation et non par le biais de pressions ou d'intimidations, notamment sur des tierces parties", a insisté Mme Pillay.

De son côté, Vladimir Poutine a mis en doute le bien-fondé de l'arrestation de Julian Assange au cours d'une conférence de presse. "Si on parle de démocratie, il faut qu'elle soit totale. Pourquoi a-t-on mis Assange en prison ? C'est ça la démocratie ?", a déclaré le premier ministre russe. "Il faut commencer par balayer devant sa porte. Je renvoie la balle à nos collègues américains", a ajouté M. Poutine.

Le président brésilien, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a également protesté jeudi contre la détention du fondateur de WikiLeaks. Lula a dit exprimer à WikiLeaks sa "solidarité pour la divulgation des documents et protester contre [l'atteinte] à la liberté d'expression". Julian Assange "a mis à nu une diplomatie qui paraissait intouchable", a-t-il souligné.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Can You Handle The Truth?

If you have been following the news about Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange, you must have read about his arrest in London and you must have felt happy about it. No more leaked information that could put in danger the brave men and women fighting for freedom in the US and in the free world. Right? 

Do you want to know the truth? Can you handle the truth, Chinatown?

Here are a few facts, taken mainly from Glenn Greenwald (, but they are well known, at least to people not blinded by their government propaganda, so you can find confirmation elsewhere :

First myth: WikiLeaks has indiscriminately published all 250,000 of the diplomatic cables it possesses. 

The truth:  WikiLeaks has posted to its website only 960 of the 251,297 diplomatic cables it has. Almost every one of these cables was first published by one of its newspaper partners which are disclosing them (The Guardian, the NYT, El Pais, Le Monde, Der Speigel, etc.). Moreover, the cables posted by WikiLeaks were not only first published by these newspapers, but contain the redactions applied by those papers to protect innocent people and otherwise minimize harm.  Just as they did prior to releasing the Afghanistan war documents, WikiLeaks -- according to AP -- "appealed to the U.S. ambassador in London, asking the U.S. government to confidentially help him determine what needed to be redacted from the cables before they were publicly released." Although the U.S. -- again -- refused to give such guidance, WikiLeaks worked closely with these media outlets to ensure that any material which has no valid public interest value and could harm innocent people was withheld.

Second myth: There was an international manhunt for Assange.

The truth: There was no valid arrest warrant in England for Assange until yesterday; he then immediately turned himself into British law enforcement. In other words, he turned himself in voluntarily, he was not hunted down and arrested.  U.K. officials rejected Assange's offer to pay $280,000 in bail. Three well-known media figures offered to give the court about $100,000 to guarantee that Mr. Assange would return for a hearing, but the offers were turned down by the British authorities.

Third myth: Assange is a rapist.

The truth: Assange had sex with a prostitute , when his condom broke. The prostitute asked him to replace the condom, he refused, they continued and finished the transaction, then she went and put in a complaint of rape, because apparently in Sweden, if you refuse to wear a condom while having sex with a partner who requests that you do, it's considered rape. The prostitute eventually withdrew her complaint, but has now been 'persuaded' to reinstate it.  There are rumors that said prostitute has links with the CIA, but it's more exciting to imagine that she had a visit by mysterious men wearing dark sunglasses, after which she suddenly remembered that she has been raped by Assange.

Third myth: Assange is a criminal, a terrorist, a traitor

The truth: WikiLeaks has never been charged with a crime, let alone indicted for one or convicted of one. A consensus of legal experts agree that prosecuting the organization or Julian Assange for any of its leaks would be difficult in the extreme. Despite those facts, look at just some of the punishment that has been doled out to them and what has been threatened:

  • everyDNS removed its support for Wikileaks, claiming that it had broken its terms of service by being the target of a huge hacker attack. To go to Wikileaks web site, you now have to type:
  • Paypal closed Wikileaks account, preventing it to receive donations.
  • Mastercard closed Wikileaks account, preventing it to receive donations.
  • Visa closed Wikileaks account, preventing it to receive donations.
  • The Australian governement is considering voiding Assange's passport et declaring him persona non grata if he tries to go back to this country.
  • Amazon has kicked out WikiLeaks that had been tapping into Amazon's EC2, or Elastic Cloud Computing service. Responding to the news, freelance data journalist James Ball quipped on Twitter: "For freedom of speech, there's Wikileaks. For everything else, there's Mastercard. And Visa. And, um, Paypal. And Amazon."
  • The Swiss bank PostFinance has frozen an account of over €31,000 set aside for the legal defense of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
  • Tom Flanagan, a former senior adviser to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, called for the assassination of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on national television. He has now withdrawn the remark, calling it a joke, and apologized.

The point is, this poor guy is being persecuted and prosecuted for making available to the public classified documents that were provided to him by other people. But none of the newspapers that published these documents given to them by Wikileaks were bothered. The main lesson to remember from this story is this: if you create an illegal worldwide torture regime, illegally spy on Americans without warrants, abduct people with no legal authority, or invade and destroy another country based on false claims, then you are fully protected. But if you expose any of the evils secretly perpetrated as part of those lawless actions -- by publishing the truth about what was done -- then you are an Evil Criminal who deserves the harshest possible prosecution.

Update - 8 December 2010 : About the rape charge against Assange, please read this recent report: Please note that 1) the women involved are neither prostitutes nor working for the CIA (as far as we know) and 2) the rape charge is bogus.