I bet you can guess how I feel about the free dissemination of information about governments, no matter how secret they are purported to be. The most pertinent commentary (slanted in favor of what I believe) that I have seen on the matter is from Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com:
The WikiLeaks disclosure has revealed not only numerous government secrets, but also the driving mentality of major factions in our political and media class. Simply put, there are few countries in the world with citizenries and especially media outlets more devoted to serving, protecting and venerating government authorities than the U.S.
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First we have the group demanding that Julian Assange be murdered without any charges, trial or due process . . . Those who demand that the U.S. Government take people’s lives with no oversight or due process as though they’re advocating changes in tax policy or mid-level personnel moves — eradicate him!, they bellow from their seats in the Colosseum — are just morally deranged barbarians. There’s just no other accurate way to put it. These are usually the same people, of course, who brand themselves “pro-life” and Crusaders for the Sanctity of Human Life and/or who deride Islamic extremists for their disregard for human life. And the fact that this mindset is so widespread and mainstream is quite a reflection of how degraded America’s political culture is. When WikiLeaks critics devote a fraction of their rage to this form of mainstream American thinking — which, unlike anything WikiLeaks has done, has actually resulted in piles upon piles of corpses — then their anti-WikiLeaks protestations should be taken more seriously, but not until then.
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Then, with some exceptions, we have the group which — so very revealingly — is the angriest and most offended about the WikiLeaks disclosures: the American media, Our Watchdogs over the Powerful and Crusaders for Transparency. On CNN last night, Wolf Blitzer was beside himself with rage over the fact that the U.S. Government had failed to keep all these things secret from him:
Are they doing anything at all to make sure if some 23-year-old guy, allegedly, starts downloading hundreds of thousands of cables, hundreds of thousands of copies of sensitive information, that no one pays attention to that, no one in the security system of the United States government bothers to see someone is downloading all these millions — literally millions of documents? . . . at this point, you know, it — it’s amazing to me that the U.S. government security system is so lax that someone could allegedly do this kind of damage just by simply pretending to be listening to a Lady Gaga C.D. and at the same time downloading all these kinds of documents.
Then — like the Good Journalist he is — Blitzer demanded assurances that the Government has taken the necessary steps to prevent him, the media generally and the citizenry from finding out any more secrets: “Do we know yet if they’ve [done] that fix? In other words, somebody right now who has top secret or secret security clearance can no longer download information onto a C.D. or a thumb drive? Has that been fixed already?” The central concern of Blitzer — one of our nation’s most honored “journalists” — is making sure that nobody learns what the U.S. Government is up to.
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Nonetheless, our government and political culture is so far toward the extreme pole of excessive, improper secrecy that that is clearly the far more significant threat. And few organizations besides WikiLeaks are doing anything to subvert that regime of secrecy, and none is close to its efficacy. 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.
In sum, I seriously question the judgment of anyone who — in the face of the orgies of secrecy the U.S. Government enjoys and, more so, the abuses they have accomplished by operating behind it — decides that the real threat is WikiLeaks for subverting that ability.
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Read the whole thing. Funny how well other people can say exactly what I am thinking better than I…
Men must be held accountable for their actions, especially in the government. Anything done in the name of our country is done in the name of each person who resides within it, and reprehensible acts should be exposed to the public. The government should fear its people, not the other way around…
I was asked yesterday “but what if the release of this information about back room talks and negotiations between world powers endangers human lives?” IF it does (which this didn’t), it is putting far fewer lives in danger than the talks between the world powers themselves, which the current and previous administration have shown time and time again in the Middle East. It isn’t truth that is driving death all over the world. It is war, unjust war. The truth about these matters is much more dangerous to politicians’ careers and plans of imperialist conquest than it could be to any human lives…
(Note: Though I have been crazy busy and have not had much time to post great personal commentary of late, I promise I will over Christmas break. This semester is killing me slowly…)