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Ed Webb

WikiLeaks reveals more than just government secrets - Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com - 0 views

  • 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.
  • Most political journalists rely on their relationships with government officials and come to like them and both identify and empathize with them.  By contrast, WikiLeaks is truly adversarial to those powerful factions in exactly the way that these media figures are not:  hence, the widespread media hatred and contempt for what WikiLeaks does.  Just look at how important it was for Bill Keller to emphasize that the Government is criticizing WikiLeaks but not The New York Times; having the Government pleased with his behavior is his metric for assessing how good his "journalism" is.  If the Government is patting him on the head, then it's proof that he acted "responsibly."  That servile-to-power mentality is what gets exposed by the contrast Wikileaks provides.
  • 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. 
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  • Digby's superb commentary on this point yesterday:

    My personal feeling is that any allegedly democratic government that is so hubristic that it will lie blatantly to the entire world in order to invade a country it has long wanted to invade probably needs a self-correcting mechanism. There are times when it's necessary that the powerful be shown that there are checks on its behavior, particularly when the systems normally designed to do that are breaking down. Now is one of those times. . . . .As for the substance of the revelations, I don't know what the results will be. But in the world of diplomacy, embarrassment is meaningful and I'm not sure that it's a bad thing for all these people to be embarrassed right now.  Puncturing a certain kind of self-importance --- especially national self-importance --- may be the most worthwhile thing they do. A little humility is long overdue.

  • The actually-existing structure and strategy of the American empire remains a near-total mystery to those who foot the bill and whose children fight its wars. And that is the way the elite of America's unelected permanent state, perhaps the most powerful class of people on Earth, like it.

    As Scott Shane, the New York Times' national security reporter, puts it: "American taxpayers, American citizens pay for all these diplomatic operations overseas and you know, it is not a bad thing when Americans actually have a better understanding of those negotiations".  Mr Shane goes on to suggest that "Perhaps if we had had more information on these secret internal deliberations of governments prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, we would have had a better understanding of the quality of the evidence that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction."

  • I'm glad to see that the quality of discussion over possible US efforts to stymie Iran's nuclear ambitions has already become more sophisticated and, well, better-informed due to the information provided by WikiLeaks.
  • If secrecy is necessary for national security and effective diplomacy, it is also inevitable that the prerogative of secrecy will be used to hide the misdeeds of the permanent state and its privileged agents. I suspect that there is no scheme of government oversight that will not eventually come under the indirect control of the generals, spies, and foreign-service officers it is meant to oversee. Organisations such as WikiLeaks, which are philosophically opposed to state secrecy and which operate as much as is possible outside the global nation-state system, may be the best we can hope for in the way of promoting the climate of transparency and accountability necessary for authentically liberal democracy.
  • FAIR documents how severely and blatantly the New York Times reporting distorted some of these documents in order (as always) to demonize Iran and the "threat" it poses.
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    Interesting to see Carne (whom I used to work with) making a robust case for greater transparency.
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