Monday, November 29, 2010


I had been pondering what to say about the wikileaks debacle. But I couldn't have said it any better than NoDoubleStandards.

In Here's Hoping You Choke on that Whistle, NDS writes:

"There isn't anything virtuous about what Wikileaks -- and the scumbag USG employee who leaked these documents to Wikileaks -- has done.

Thanks to everyone disseminating this information, my colleagues at many posts around the world are literally in mortal danger.


And for what?

To satisfy the idle curiosity of a few.

To all who complain about the conduct of our foreign policy: how the hell do you expect us to protect this country and advance our foreign policy objectives without the least expectation that your reporting and analysis will be protected?"

I hope the traitor who released these is punished to the fullest extent of the law. He has put this country and the people serving it in danger for no good reason.


Kate said...

...not to mention those from a few other countries, as well.

Rob Pugh said...

Americans in mortal danger overseas, unacceptable... so, we're calling for the troops to come home, yes? Going to stop with the drones killing civilians, fomenting dissent and animosity towards the US?

I love your blog, but find this horribly wrong headed. Understand if you decide this doesn't pass moderation.

Can't help but wonder what blogs would've said about the Pentagon Papers.

NoDoubleStandards said...

Thanks for the quote, as always!

Digger said...

Rob, I never moderate for legitmate differences of opinion. I only moderate to keep off comments which are racist, sexist homophobic or denegrate our service (the latter is why I started moderating, because one guy anonymously posted "wimps and weenies" to one post more than 20 times).

I used to be a reporter. I understand the need for the press to publish certain things that are in the best interests of the people knowing even if the government does not want them to know. However, I don't think these doucments fall into that category. Should the Abu Graib photos have been published? Absolutely, in spite of the danger. But these documents are out there for no more than voyeurism, and the person publishing them sold them to media outlets. He isn't a whistle blower but a profiteers.

And releasing them protects no one, but makes it harder for us to get some countries to work with us privately on issues that they could never work with us on publically.

And I get your point about the military, but they and we signed on for far different tasks. And they get to carry guns to defend themselves. We aren't allowed.

Rob Pugh said...

"But these documents are out there for no more than voyeurism..."

I disagree. I think knowing that our government is asking our diplomats to act as spies at the UN, that Yemen and the US are conspiring to disinform about air strikes, that we pressure Germany to leave our CIA assets alone after we kidnap and render for torture the wrong man, that our diplomats still feel Saudi money goes to AQ while we still - still - cozy up to their regime - and they call for us to make war on Iran - while we invade countries tangential to radical militant Islam, that we attempted to bribe, sorry incentivize, other nations to take Gitmo prisoners WHILE denying it, that we KNOW that the Afghan gov is corrupt and that Karzai's brother runs drugs, while we still funnel them $$ and jail Americans at home in the War on Some Drugs Users... these don't count as voyeurism to me. These things matter.

The Guardian sums it up well, I think - "Anything said or done in the name of a democracy is, prima facie, of public interest. When that democracy purports to be 'world policeman' – an assumption that runs ghostlike through these cables – that interest is global."

"...and the person publishing them sold them to media outlets. He isn't a whistle blower but a profiteers."

By this reasoning, if I understand you correctly, any news media that profits from its service, from CNN to FoxNews to the Post counts as a profiteer and not a newsperson. I imagine he takes that money, pays salaries, himself, and puts back into infrastructure for what it is he does. How does that make him different than, say, Rupert Murdoch?

What's different here I think, is Wikileaks is unbowed in having an adversarial relationship w/government, while regular media lives and dies for its access and guys like Keller at the NYT takes pride in being a lapdog and clearing things with the government prior to publishing [interview w/Blitzer yesterday.]

"And releasing them protects no one, but makes it harder for us to get some countries to work with us privately on issues that they could never work with us on publically."

I agree that it may indeed make things more diplomatically difficult. But it's not the role of the media to make the job of diplomacy easier or to protect politicians from embarrassment. It's just not. That's in no way, shape or form the role that media is supposed to play in a free society, imho. They should be checking governmental power, not cheerleading it.

Also, the need for confidentiality, privacy and secrecy in order to 'get things done,' for me, smacks too much of the same line of nonsense we heard from former VP Cheney when he had his buddies the oil execs secretly into the White House to, basically, craft American energy policy. But people didn't need to know who he was talking to, or when, because if folks knew, it would "compromise" the dialogue. You know, because accountability compromises conversation, apparently.

And btw, when he and his office decided to out intelligence operatives and spill intel, there were no calls of treason and 'blood on his hands.' It was politics as usual.

Whereas these claims that Assange has "blood on his hands" without any actual facts to back up that claim combined with the chest thumping "why haven't we assassinated him yet" rhetoric makes me, quite frankly, feel a bit ill.


Rob Pugh said...


I don't trust Wikileaks and MSM to vet the info they're publishing any better than the government, but neither do I expect them to do any worse. The cult of secrecy and classification in DC, imho, is excessive.

A man who struck me as very smart, who I voted for, said “The way to make government responsible is to hold it accountable. And the way to make government accountable is make it transparent so that the American people can know exactly what decisions are being made, how they’re being made, and whether their interests are being well served. For a long time now, there’s been too much secrecy in this city…That era is now over. Starting today, every agency and department should know that this administration stands on the side not of those who seek to withhold information but those who seek to make it known." That was President Obama. But like many things in the hope/change era, this has turned out to be little more than rhetoric, which profoundly disappoints me.

I'm firmly in Glenn Greenwald camp when he says "...It's staggering to watch anyone walk around acting as though the real threat is from excessive disclosures when the impenetrable, always-growing Wall of Secrecy is what has enabled virtually every abuse and transgression of the U.S. government over the last two decades at least."

Sorry for the lengthy-ranty-quoty aspect of this, and appreciate the open platform. Cheers.

And apologies if you got my comment a couple times. Blogger wasn't playing nicely.