December 24, 2010

Wikileaks UPDATES 2010-12-24: Lynching the Messenger; Assange-Speak

Another great piece from Glenn Greenwald at Salon, observing,

As revealing as the disclosures themselves are, the reactions to them have been equally revealing. The vast bulk of the outrage has been devoted not to the crimes that have been exposed but rather to those who exposed them. . . . A consensus quickly emerged in the political and media class that they are Evil Villains who must be severely punished, while those responsible for the acts they revealed are guilty of nothing. That reaction has not been weakened at all even by the Pentagon's own admission that, in stark contrast to its own actions, there is no evidence -- zero -- that any of WikiLeaks' actions has caused even a single death. Meanwhile, the American establishment media -- even in the face of all these revelations -- continues to insist on the contradictory, Orwellian platitudes that (a) there is Nothing New™ in anything disclosed by WikiLeaks and (b) WikiLeaks has done Grave Harm to American National Security™ through its disclosures.

It's unsurprising that political leaders would want to convince people that the true criminals are those who expose acts of high-level political corruption and criminality, rather than those who perpetrate them. Every political leader would love for that self-serving piety to take hold. But what's startling is how many citizens and, especially, "journalists" now vehemently believe that as well.
[I.e., let's lynch the messenger.] Greenwald concludes with a partial list of crimes revealed by Wikileaks in 2010.

On a more hopeful note, here are a few quotes from speeches or interviews of Julian Assange:

Which country is suffering from too much freedom of speech? Name it. Is there one? (source)

“The aim of Wikileaks is to achieve just reform around the world and do it through the mechanism of transparency.
[O]rganizations that have material and want to conceal it are giving off a signal that they believe there will be reform if that material is released.
So we can do things very efficiently by selectively trying to get that material and stick that into the public intellectual record where it can be used by everyone to inform their decisions.” (source)

What does censorship reveal? It reveals fear. (source)

"[S]ecret planning is secret usually for a reason, because if it’s abusive it is opposed.
It is our task to find secret abuse plans and expose them where they can be opposed before they’re implemented. Because if they’re exposed by the implementation – by people suffering from that abuse – then the abuse has already occurred and it’s too late. (source)

It is impossible to correct abuses unless we know that they’re going on. (source)

“[W]e in the West have deluded ourselves into believing that we actually have a truly free press. We don’t. And we can see that in the difference between what Wikileaks does and what the rest of the press does. (source)

"And now we see that the function of censorship has also been privatized.
And what that means is that litigious billionaires and big companies are able to effectively prevent certain things [from] appearing in public.
Or reduce the number of those things appearing in public by using the legal system or by using patronage networks and economic flows to make it unprofitable to talk about certain things most of the time.” (source)

“We know for sure that one big media company in the US had the ‘Collateral Murder’ video for years and did not release it. (source)

"In the UK right now there are 300 secret gag orders. Those are gag orders that not only prevent the press from reporting corruption and abuse, they prevent the press from reporting [that] the press has been gagged. (source)

"[M]ost information that comes to you is targeted at you. It is designed in some small way to manipulate you, so it is a deviation from the truth.
But the internal documents of major corporations and intelligence agencies and governments are designed for their internal use. . . . They’re not designed to manipulate you. And because of that difference in perceived audience you can start to see how major organizations work, and it’s not how people think they work; it’s something different.
And if we are to produce a more civilized society, a more just society, it has to be based upon the truth. Because judgements which are not based upon the truth can only lead to outcomes which are themselves false. (source)

“[T]he basic structural relationships in highly developed Western countries are fiscal, they’re not political. (source)

"I think fiscal relationships have been engineered in such a way that they’re complex and opaque. . . . How can people become angry with information that’s that complex? It’s hard. You have to work a lot harder as a journalist to turn that into an emotionally impactful story. So that’s a kind of tax on powerful revelation.” (source)

If tribunals try to hide their sources of funding then at the very outset we have to be suspicious about their conclusions. (source)

“In this broader framework of what we do it is to try and build an historical record, an intellectual record, of how civilization actually works in practice. (source)
More at Beginning.

And one from Wikileaks: "Sarah Palin says Julian should be hunted down like Osama bin Laden--so he should be safe for at least a decade." (see )

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