Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wiki, Wiki, Wiki, Who's Got The Wiki, And Why President Obama Should Be A One Term President, but Probably Won't 2

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Vice President Joe Biden

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

Noam Chromsky

Mr. Assange

Speaking of the document dump in late November by the wistleblower website Wikileaks, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "So let’s be clear. This disclosure is not just an attack on America's foreign-policy interests,” she said. “It is an attack on the international community, the alliances and partnerships, the conversations and negotiations that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity.”
She continued, (the document release) “puts people's lives in danger, threatens our national security and undermines our efforts to work with other countries to solve shared problems.”
I think the operative word in the statements above is "attack," which can be used as a verb or noun.
Some of the many definitions of the word includes:
1. (military) an offensive against an enemy (using weapons); "the attack began at dawn"
2. intense adverse criticism; "Clinton directed his fire at the Republican Party"; "the government has come under attack"
3. attack in speech or writing; "The editors of the left-leaning paper attacked the new House Speaker"
4. strong criticism; "he published an unexpected attack on my work"
And many others, some possibly having a direct bearing on the Wikileak dump, others clearly not.
Most of these definitions however infer a directed malice toward an intended enemy. That really would not be an accurate definition of what Wikileaks has done by publishing documents provided by anonymous sources for the simple sake of transparency in general, and is not intended to harm any one particular institution which the published documents may affect. If the term "attack" is to used accurately in this instance, then perhaps an attack on "secrecy" would be more accurate, which is exactly the mission statement, if you will, of Wikileaks.
Of course one can argue that a certain degree of secrecy is essential for the government to carry out it's business, especially in a time of military engagement. I would then suggest to the government, or other types of entities involved, it's your responsibility to maintain secure information. Wikileaks wouldn't have these documents if they were indeed so sensitive as not to be made public. Indeed, it is the definition of information provided by a "whistleblower," that it sheds light on a malfeasance of some sort by the issuing agency, and is for the good of the public at large that this information has been released.
Besides, WikiLeaks has consistently asserted that they offered White House officials the opportunity to review the Afghan War Diary documents to help ensure that no innocent informers were named, despite White House claims that they had no contact from the publishers…. WikiLeaks states it received no response to their offer.
And many disagree with the Secretary of State's assessment.
Before being directed to label Julian Assange as a "high tech terrorist," Vice President Joe Biden said this to MSNBC corespondent, Andrea Mitchell:
BIDEN: "I don't think there's any damage. I don't think there's any substantive damage, no. Look, some of the cables are embarrassing . . . but nothing that I'm aware of that goes to the essence of the relationship that would allow another nation to say: "they lied to me, we don't trust them, they really are not dealing fairly with us."
The Secretary of Defense was inclined to share that view:
Secretary of the Defense Robert Gates: "Now, I've heard the impact of these releases on our foreign policy described as a meltdown, as a game-changer, and so on. I think -- I think those descriptions are fairly significantly overwrought. The fact is, governments deal with the United States because it's in their interest, not because they like us, not because they trust us, and not because they believe we can keep secrets. Many governments -- some governments deal with us because they fear us, some because they respect us, most because they need us. We are still essentially, as has been said before, the indispensable nation.
So other nations continue to deal with us. They will continue to work with us. We will continue to share sensitive information with one another.
Is this embarrassing? Yes. Is it awkward? Yes. Consequences for U.S. foreign policy? I think fairly modest."
And some are completely supportive of the service provided by Wikileaks, putting a completely different spin from that, in this case, of the U.S. government:
Larry Klayman, the founder of Judicial Watch: “While I do not condone breaking the law, if indeed this was the means to obtain and release so called national security documents, the hard fact is that the government has again been caught lying to the American people about the motives and means behind its foreign policy. The administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and now Barack Obama have been exposed to be not only deceitful, but incompetent in their foreign policy... That a group like WikiLeaks had to arguably break the law to lay bear the dishonesty and incompetence of American foreign policy shows just how crooked our government itself is, and this is why the nation is on the verge of revolution. Its why the Tea Party has taken hold, and why the Democrats were, in a landslide, recently removed from control of the House of Representatives. But the wrath of the nation is not limited to the Democrats. The document dump of WikiLeaks unmasks the dishonest, stupid, incompetent and failed secret foreign policies of both parties.
By exposing this corruption, WikiLeaks’ document dump will hopefully have a positive effect on future American foreign policy."
Noam Chomsky, American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, and political activist, discussed the revelation (in Wikileaks documents) that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia called for a preemptive U.S. attack against Iran to neutralize their supposed nuclear program, and what Hillary Clinton said at a recent news conference in Washington:
Clinton: "So, if anything, any of the comments that are being reported on allegedly from the cables confirm the fact that Iran poses a very serious threat in the eyes of many of her neighbors and a serious concern far beyond her region. That is why the international community came together to pass the strongest possible sanctions against Iran. It did not happen because the United States said, "Please, do this for us!" It happened because countries- once they evaluated the evidence concerning Iran’s actions and intentions- reached the same conclusion that the United States reached: that we must do whatever we can to muster the international community to take action to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state."
Chomsky: "That essentially reinforces what I said before, that the main significance of the cables that are being released so far is what they tell us about Western leadership. So Hillary Clinton and Benjamin Netanyahu surely know of the careful polls of Arab public opinion. The Brookings Institute just a few months ago released extensive polls of what Arabs think about Iran. The results are rather striking. They show the Arab opinion holds that the major threat in the region is Israel -- that’s 80%. The second major threat is the United States -- that’s 77%. Iran is listed as a threat by 10%.
With regard to nuclear weapons, rather remarkably, a majority -- in fact, 57% – say that the region would have a positive effect in the region if Iran had nuclear weapons. Now, these are not small numbers. 80, 77, say the U.S. and Israel are the major threat. 10 say Iran is the major threat. This may not be reported in the newspapers here -- it is in England -- but it’s certainly familiar to the Israeli and U.S. governments, and to the ambassadors. But there is not a word about it anywhere. What that reveals is the profound hatred for democracy on the part of our political leadership and the Israeli political leadership. These things aren’t even to be mentioned."
So there is certainly a degree of disagreement between different parties as to the relevance toward the latest round of Wikileak documents, their destructive and disruptive power to the issuing agencies, and if they are a hindrance to government let's say, or if they are a new tool for transparency in this new "Information Age," that issuing entities like governments, businesses, and religious institutions, etc., will have to get used to, and thereby serve to moderate their future behavior.
Is there a need for government transparency?
This is a direct quote from the New York Times yesterday who is suing the NYPD because they have not been providing documents as is required by law: "The police have performed outstanding service to this city,” Mr. McCraw added [David E. McCraw, a vice president and assistant general counsel of The New York Times Company], “but it’s important that they also meet their duties under the Freedom of Information Law. People have a right to know what public agencies are doing, and how they are doing it, so that there can be an informed public debate over what policies are pursued and how tax dollars are spent."
Do the people have a right to know what their federal or state government is doing and how they are doing it so that there can be an informed public debate over what policies are pursued and how tax dollars are spent? I would submit they they do, and thus Wikileaks performs a valuably and vital service.
In any case, for the time being, those agencies who feel they have been compromised and who maintain a powerful reach such as the government of the United States, well it's retribution toward those who compromise them can be swift and furious.
As in the instance of Julian Assange. For just one week after the "Attack on the world community," statement was issued by Hillary Clinton, all of the sudden and out of the blue, vague proclamations from Swedish authorities of certain serious violations of law, specifically charges of rape, were made against him.
Coincidence or no?
And suddenly Mr. Assange's personal integrity was put into question, he became a fugitive, and he found himself on the run.
And the U.S. Department of Justice began to gear up in order to see if he could possibly be prosecuted for espionage.

To be continued.

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