I can’t leave this alone

And the reason I can’t leave it alone is because it’s important. We should all be disturbed by the unprecedented attack on wikileak’s founder/editor Julian Assange.

I have said before – I am agnostic about him, his actions and his organization. I am, however, not agnostic about the attacks on wikileaks web site and the attempts to silence an inconvenient muckraker, whistleblower – call him what you will, the man is not a criminal.

Glenn Greenwald today:

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. 

So when is Joe Lieberman going after those papers?

Image from here, where you’ll also find an ironic statement from Hillary Clinton which includes this:

Courageous journalists across the globe risk their freedom and their lives to provide independent information on government actions and their consequences; report the news from conflict zones; expose crime, corruption and wrongdoing; and reveal human rights violations – all despite efforts, in some cases, by governments and others, to control what people read, hear and think.

And, again:

(It’s still about the banks guys. Wonder when that promised document dump from inside a ‘major US bank’ is coming?)

4 responses to “I can’t leave this alone

  1. The Center Square

    I think you have to separate out the incontrovertible right to publish these materials from the acts by which they migrated from the government’s secret stash to the public domain. A free press and the right to publish as one see’s fit — check.

    But those who have access to classified information freely take on an obligation to protect it, and obviously that was violated here (and in the past, and routinely). Those culprits should feel the full measure of the law, with the sole exception I can envision being a morally justified necessity that something bad be exposed. Most of what has been abstracted in the press does not remotely meet any definition of morally imperative whistleblowing.

    Something I don’t know: did Wikileaks pay for these materials? Because if so, I think they start to dip their toes into the culpable waters. It’s not right to purchase materials that are inherently illegal to sell.

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  2. Lots of good points. Because wikileaks aren’t the actual leakers. They were the recipients of the leaked materials. Did they pay? I guess that would make a diff, but probably not – I think we’d have heard something by now.

    You point out the lack of moral imperative in publishing these materials – I would add that there’s no real damage either. That’s what Secty Gates said and I agree. Most of this stuff wasn’t even classified. Some of the fp blogs are saying the cables show that we have a robust and well oiled diplomatic apparatus. Sure we’ve been embarrassed, but not as badly as some others. It’ll pass.

    But meanwhile, too many want to blow this up into something it isn’t. And dammit, now you’ve got me going again!

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  3. Wikileaks seems like bread and circuses to me. While there is a shaky and debated line between what constitutes neccessary state secrecy and censorship of information, much of this so-called information, and the responses of governments world wide, seems to be quite childish.

    While some of the “leaks” contain damaging and carefully gaurded information, most of it seems to be merely stories of “he said, she said” about diplomats. It is commendable that Assuage has made widely known the excessively two-faced culture of so-called “diplomacy”, but overall these revelations lack substance.

    I do agree with you that the obsession to silence this guy is based on rhetoric and that, strictly speaking, he has done little harm (as of yet, anyway). I just hope that the government doesn’t use him as an excuse to ram through draconian press censorship.

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    • There’s always a crowd who want to limit the press – every time something like this goes down, they rise up from their respective crypts and hammer the drum yet again.

      This time I’m a bit more nervous than usual because of the involvement of other countries and of corporations.

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