The Unintended Lesson of WikiLeaks

December 4th, 2010 at 9:00 am David Frum | 41 Comments |

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The actions of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are reckless, amoral, and dangerous. But Assange’s bad actions do not invalidate the information contained in his leaks. If the publics of the Western democracies absorb this information, the world will become a better and safer place.

Start, for example, with what we can learn about the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

Western governments have invested enormous time and money to negotiate an end to that conflict. They have tried to muscle Israel into greater concessions to the Palestinians, and tried to coax the Palestinians to accept those concessions. The peace process has failed because the Palestinians hope that if only they hold out a little longer, they will be offered even more.

We engage in these wearisome and elaborate proceedings because we assume that the Israeli-Palestinian dispute holds the key to regional peace. But now the whole world can see: It’s not true. Governments in the region do not in fact care very much about the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. They are transfixed by Iran. They are terrorized by the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon.

Which raises the question: If the Palestinian issue is so unimportant to the Middle East, why is it so important to us?

WikiLeaks raises the question: Why not say instead to the Palestinians, “You were offered a great deal in 2000 and 2001. You tried to get a better deal by going to war. You lost. So now it’s your problem. Here’s the telephone. You punch these little buttons when you are ready to talk. You negotiate the best deal you can. If you need a little cash to sweeten the terms, we’ll contribute. Otherwise, we’re focused on Iran, Pakistan and Turkey. Bye”?

That’s the other side of WikiLeaks: Not only are we way over-invested in the Palestinian problem, but we are way under-invested in the problems of these three major countries.

WikiLeaks confirms and underscores the intransigence and belligerence of Iran. Iran has, for example, annexed the Islamic Red Crescent as an arm of Iranian foreign policy.

But you knew that. Here are two things maybe you didn’t know: While the U.S. government describes Pakistan as a major non-NATO ally (a legal status that allows Pakistan to purchase sophisticated U.S. weapons), U.S. diplomats worry that Pakistan’s nuclear arms are not secure — and that Pakistan will not co-operate with U.S. efforts to enhance nuclear security.

Meanwhile, Turkey — a NATO ally, a country that Canada is, by treaty, obliged to go to war to defend — is allowing Iran to smuggle nuclear components across Turkish territory. This is the same Turkey that closed its bases to the United States during the Iraq war and that enables armed agitators to stage confrontations with the Israeli navy. What exactly does a country have to do to get itself kicked out of the club of Western allies? Has Turkey omitted any of those things? And has anybody noticed that Turkey no longer borders Russia, and so has ceased even to be of much use containing NATO’s former adversary?

Meanwhile, of the countries in the Caucasus area that do actually border Russia, one (Georgia) is suffering Russian occupation of big chunks of its national territory, while another (Armenia) has supplied Iran with arms later used against U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

The organizers of Wikileaks say they wanted to blow the whistle on government fictions and expose the ugly realities. In a way they probably never intended, they have done just that. They have revealed that Iran is even more dangerous, Turkey even more hostile, Pakistan even more precarious and the Palestinians even more irrelevant than generally understood.


Originally published in the National Post.

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41 Comments so far ↓

  • jg bennet

    wikileaks shows american leadership at the top level to be used car salesmen “trust me” it’s all about the palestinian’s and turkey and pakistan are our friends plus iran can be negotiated with.

    we the people thought we bought a rolls royce but it turns out it is actually a clunker sitting an old soviet volga chassis.

    we got a jalopy and the smoke aint coming from the tailpipe it’s coming from the west wing.

    sadly i was one who believed the salesman and now i’m ashamed and afoot.

    is there a lemon law for presidents?

  • Northof49

    David, I am disappointed. (Not that anyone cares) but why would you first malign Wikileaks and then give credit to the details they published? Your starting swipe is too easy, and misdirected. Harder it seems is to stand up for the rights of journalists to pursue a great story. You should be one of those.
    If Wikileaks is reckless, amoral and dangerous, then certainly the NY Times and even Frum Forum are more so by using this story and its details over and over again while conveniently taking swipes at the source at the same time.
    The consequences of the Wikileaks posting were anything but unintended.
    You can’t have it both ways David, and you owe Wikileaks an apology.

  • Xunzi Washington

    I don’t know if Assange’s intentions here are amoral. You haven’t made a case for this in any way. In fact, listening to the guy, it seems to me that he _is_ actually motivated by ethical thinking. You can argue that it is misguided, but it doesn’t seem amoral.

    Three points –

    1. He seems motivated sometimes by a deontic commitment to a basic moral value such as freedom, much the way libertarians are.

    2. Sometimes he adapts (1) and talks like a consequentialist, and here he’s concerned with maximizing good outcomes in the long term. When he talks about systems with ‘perfect information exchange’ he seems to think that even if certain parties could be harmed by leaks, in the long term the system serves everyone best when sunlight disinfects everything.

    3. Other times he modifies (2) and talks about virtue, arguing that in a system where whistle-blowing has fast and immediate good outcomes, and less bad consequences for the whistle-blower, such behavior will be given a strong incentive. Thus, as he has suggested, in such a system “courage is contagious”.

    Now I’m not saying that these arguments are conclusive. I’m not even suggesting that Assange is not in self-deception regarding loftier ethical motivations. What I am saying is that it’s not immediately clear why Assange is “amoral” when the evidence, at least prima facie, seems to suggest otherwise.

  • jg bennet

    An email from julian assange’s old website…..are we becoming like iran?

    Mon 04 Sep 2006 : Underground banned in Iran

    Close the door to world events and when one does not look they come
    in the window!

    Begin forwarded message:

    > Subject: thanks for your great book
    >
    > Hi !
    >
    > I’m from Tehran / Iran. I know that you’ve heard lots of
    > news about Iran these days, but we have two Irans:
    > one is the ruling party and the second is the people ! :)
    > and I’m one of those people !
    >
    > I’ve just downloaded your book (underground) and
    > read it all. it was a great work. I enjoyed a alot and
    > blogged about it (http://FreeKeyboard.net/node/47 ).
    > (oh man ! it is in Farsi !)
    >
    > And the second reason I’m writing you: I want to
    > inform you that your site (underground-book) is censored
    > in Iran !!! I’m also complained about it to my government
    > but with no luck
    >
    > Thank you again for your great book and also THANK you
    > for letting people download it and read it. We can not order
    > copies here so it was a delight to download and read it legally :)

    http://www.opentopic.com/#FrontPage/news/1016/988/url/web.archive.org/web/20071020051936/http:/iq.org/

  • The Unintended Lesson of WikiLeaks | FrumForum | The Daily Conservative

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  • SpartacusIsNotDead

    Frum: “The actions of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are reckless, amoral, and dangerous. . . If the publics of the Western democracies absorb this information, the world will become a better and safer place.”

    How could Assange’s actions be reckless, amoral and dangerous if no one has been physically harmed by them and if the world becomes a better and safer place because of them?

    This is complete nonsense, and people who claim to be in favor of limited government should stop criticizing the very tool by which government is held in check. We used to have a press in this country that aggressively challenged government and the claims of government officials. Had the press remained aggressive maybe the U.S. would not have foolishly gone to war in Iraq, or tortured and killed innocent people, or detained people without any due process, or run up huge deficits. Most of these horrible things happened under Bush, but Obama, while denouncing torture, has claimed the right to kill American citizens without due process. And the press remains silent on all of this.

    A highly secretive government that claims the power to read our emails and wiretap our phones and to detain and kill people without any due process is a government whose actions need to be visible. Right now, Wikileaks is the only entity out there willing to make that happen.
    Instead of criticizing Wikileaks we should be applauding it.

  • lessadoabouteverything

    Great article by Mr. Frum, a few points though:
    “The peace process has failed because the Palestinians hope that if only they hold out a little longer, they will be offered even more.” In 2000 the Palestinians were offered far more than I was even expecting and they turned it down. I think the Palestinian leadership is terrified that to make peace would mean to a) be forgotten and b) be held accountable by their own people.

    By the way, Turkey did not shut down our bases, they didn’t allow us to use Turkey as a staging area for a WAR OF CHOICE. Now I supported the war in Iraq, but that doesn’t mean they had to.
    If Turkey engineered a war with Mexico we wouldn’t have to allow the Turkish army to use Texas as a staging area.

    sparticus, I still disagree with your contentions, you state that no one has been killed but you don’t know this (how could you). And as to the harm, good lord how can countries negotiate anything if every detail of negotiations are subject to exposure. The US just finalized a trade agreement with South Korea, the details of it are available to everyone and it is subject to ratification. Would you really have US leverage hopelessly compromised during the negotiations, with every strategy laid out for public criticism. It would create a diplomatic corp incapable of action.

    And Wikileaks published stolen documents. Do you think wikileaks has the right to publish your financial records on the web, every tax return, every tax deduction you took? And you Social security number, address, etc. all because some schmuck downloaded everything from IRS and Social Security servers? Why are you entitled to privacy but government diplomats, who are charged with serving our interests, are not?

    There is a fundamental difference between a whistle blower providing details of government crimes, these people are protected by law, and someone who steals government data.
    Wikileaks had no right to pre-emptively post a copy of a writers book before it is published, that is theft. Wikileaks is a criminal organization using stolen goods to acquire profit. Motivations are not important.

  • dugfromthearth

    “What exactly does a country have to do to get itself kicked out of the club of Western allies?”

    Trade arms for hostages and use the money to fund an illegal war?
    kidnap people and ship them to other countries to be tortured?
    illegally invade countries on fabricated charges that they have WMD?

    Apparently none of those are sufficient.

  • jg bennet

    Hints of totalitarian behavior?

    From: Office of Career Services
    Date: Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 3:26 PM
    Subject: Wikileaks – Advice from an alum
    To: “Office of Career Services (OCS)”

    Hi students,

    We received a call today from a SIPA alumnus who is working at the State Department. He asked us to pass along the following information to anyone who will be applying for jobs in the federal government, since all would require a background investigation and in some instances a security clearance.

    The documents released during the past few months through Wikileaks are still considered classified documents. He recommends that you DO NOT post links to these documents nor make comments on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter. Engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government.

    Regards,

  • nuser

    There is hope yet! Wikileaks was most welcome. Let us have some more. Just as some of us thought;
    all Arabs are not Israel’s enemy.Turkey , whose religion is in stark contrast to Israel’s actually saved
    a few jews. The Vatican , whose religion rose from the old testament ,well……
    Why is it some people will believe a lie rather than the truth?

  • pampl

    Good post Xunzi Washington. I assume Mr. Frum must have meant “immoral”. It’s sort of redundant to call it both “reckless” and “dangerous” though. On the other hand, it is just a disclaimer

    edit: nuser, Islam also arises from the Old Testament…

  • nuser

    To pampl
    To day while making a comment on the Bush’s tax cut extension (not passed) , Mitch McConnell
    implied Obama was raising taxes. And that my friend is politics.
    Try telling muslims they are really christians and you will have problems with your undies.
    How does the likes of McConnell live with themselves? It is so frustrating.

  • quell

    christ Frum you fucking spinner.
    Assange is field testing a closed information system killer. Douthat is either disengenuous or lying when he says it cant work– it is already working.

    People with clearances have gotten inhouse email telling them they could lose their clearances if they visit Wikileaks site.
    Major Defense Contractor Blocks Anything With ‘WikiLeaks’ In URL
    The nation’s biggest defense contractors, who employ thousands of people with security clearances, are taking steps to restrict their access to Wikileaks, including one company which is blocking employees from accessing any website, including news stories, with “wikileaks” in the URL.
    White House Tells All Federal Agencies To Prohibit Unauthorized Employees From Wikileaks Site:
    The Office of Management and Budget today directed all federal agencies to bar unauthorized employees from accessing the Wikileaks web site and its leaked diplomatic cables.
    The Library of Congress also blocked access to Wikileaks on its public access computers TPM reported yesterday.
    What is next? Universities?
    Meanwhile Assange is playing you assclowns like a 10 pound brookie on 20 pound test.
    The feds are running around like keystone cops trying to arrest him and giving him TONS of “maximum exposure” and the diplo cables are going drip drip drip one per hour.
    Less than 700 of 250k have been released so far.
    I dont know if the system killer will work, but if it does its the death of conservative america.
    The america of jefferson and lincoln will be just fine.

  • quell

    The lesson america hasnt learned is Iraq and Viet nam, right David?
    Our police-state attempts to squash cyber-insurgency are going to end just as badly for us as all the rest.
    Both islamic insurgents and viet cong insurgents kicked america’s ass.
    Now cyber-insurgents are doing the same thing.

    the lesson America hasn’t learned yet is Don’t Be Evil.

  • armstp

    I find it extremely ironic that FF, commentators and the media seemed to have largely come out against Wikileaks, but then write tonnes of articles and do tonnes of stories on the information coming out of Wikileaks. It is like saying I do not think there should be bars, but then spend all their time drinking in bars.

    It is shameful the many in the media are not 100% supporting Wikileaks. I guess they just have a grunge that Wikileaks is actuallly doing the job which the media should actually be doing themselves. Since when was it the media and journalist role to support the government? This is not Russia or the Soviet Union. If it takes Wikileaks to shake up the comfortable and secretive world order, than so be it and good on them.

  • quell

    AMG dont you get it?
    There is a fucking field test of a closed information systems killer RUNNING RIGHT NAOW!
    And it appears to be WAI. (working as intended)

  • Nanotek

    “The actions of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are reckless, amoral, and dangerous. But Assange’s bad actions do not invalidate the information contained in his leaks. If the publics of the Western democracies absorb this information, the world will become a better and safer place.”

    So reckless, amoral and dangerous acts lead to a better and safer world? Interesting assumptions.

  • nuser

    Northof49
    Remember all the articles Frum , Krauthammer and Jonas wrote regarding Israel and Obama?
    Talk about a biased and self serving press. It worked! What wonderful republican president is
    next. Eighty percent loves Sarah Palin , and she wouldn’t hesitate to drop a bomb on Iran, if
    only she knew where it is located.

  • armstp

    “Technology trumps politics. Technology trumps religion. It just does. And that’s why we are where we are now. … This is not only what we do, it’s literally who we are as a species. We’ve become something other than what our ancestors were.” William Gibson

  • Banty

    I wouldn’t be so enamored with Assange as a moralist. I would go with David Frum’s description as “amoral”.

    Sure, he articulates an “information wants to be free” sort of cyber-anarchist cant. But just about any amoralist, when pressed, can come up with a rationale (even mobsters have families to feed, for example).

    His actions are, at once, indiscriminate, and discriminating. Notice that it is not Australia’s, or Switzerland’s, classified documents that are flying around the world. On the other hand, the U.S. documents that *are* being hung on the laundry line, are a mish mash of whatever he was able to get his hooks into. He is no whistleblower; there is no particular set of wrongdoings he seeks to expose. Where nefarious actions and motive would be exposed, it would be due to sheer volume only, more like how a stopped clock is right twice a day.

    I know Daniel Ellsberg has praised him, but he’s no Daniel Ellsberg (well, maybe he is, and I should re-evaluate Ellsberg), he’s no Sherron Watkins. He’s just stirring up the mud because he’s found he can, and when and where he feels like it.

  • jg bennet

    well i certainly don’t want to hurt my chances of getting a government job by putting political or wikileaks info on my facebook page….

    is the censoring not ridiculous and un-american? are we going totalitarian?

    american political leaders want to imprison or execute a journalist who received inside info from an anonymous source

    they have lied their butt’s off to we the sheeple about our allies in afghanistan and the around the world.

    they let communist china get the fastest train & super computer while our leaders fuss & pout about the cost of infrastructure and tax cuts then don’t say jack when the chinese politburo hacks and steals vital info from one of our most successful corporations…..

    aaand to put the cherry bomb on top the american pie….. they tell our brightest students interested in public service that they cannot participate in a public dialogue on an issue that strikes at the core of the american constitution. freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

    that’s my lesson so far… hell i’m so turned offfff i might vote for this guy in the next round
    notice what he says at 3 minutes, i agree in so many ways….

    http://shouldtrumprun.com/trump-on-the-record-china/

  • armstp

    Banty,

    “His actions are, at once, indiscriminate, and discriminating. Notice that it is not Australia’s, or Switzerland’s, classified documents that are flying around the world. ”

    First of all it is not Assange acquiring these documents. It is whistleblowers, so if he has not posted Australian or Swiss documents, it is because no whistleblower has given him documents.

    Second, there are plenty of embarassing things in these U.S. diplomatic cables for just about every country on the planet. So there is more revealed here than just some action against the U.S.

    Third, you need to spend a little more time getting to know Wikileaks, as it has been around for four years and has posted many many things about many different countries and companies. It is not a site that is whatsoever in the game of only embarassing the U.S.

    There is plenty of material in these diplomatic releases and previous similar releases that can be considered “whistleblower” type information. Have you been reading any of the coverage of Wikileaks?

    I will give you one nice summary of some fairly daming whistleblower type info. Juan Cole put this together:

    “Top Ten Middle East Wikileaks Revelations so Far”

    http://www.juancole.com/2010/12/top-ten-middle-east-wikileaks-revelations-so-far.html

    A lot of this gives us some real and important perspective on both Afghanistan, Isreal, Pakistan and Iran, which are areas we are heavily involved in.

    Don’t you want to know this information and why should much of this be considered secret in the first place? The problem is our governments keeps too much stuff secret. The Iraq War would have turned out much differently if we would have had this kind of information. How can you trust a government that lied to us about WMD?

    Take a look at some of the stuff Glenn Greenwall has been writing on Wikileaks. He gives a very good perspective and knows what he is talking about.

    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/index.html

    or this one:

    “The moral standards of WikiLeaks critics”

    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/12/01/wikileaks/index.html

    Also, this good article: “Wikileaks and the New McCarthyism: Maybe we Just Need a More Open Government” again from Juan Cole.

    http://www.juancole.com/2010/12/wikileaks-and-the-new-mccarthyism-maybe-we-just-need-a-more-open-government.html

  • lessadoabouteverything

    “american political leaders want to imprison or execute a journalist who received inside info from an anonymous source” so if I hack into your computer and take your credit card info and give it to a journalist, and he publishes it the journalist is a hero? Look, if you want to argue about what should be classified and what shouldn’t, lets do that and vote for lawmakers who change the law as to what you think it should be, you just don’t steal government data, give it to journalists who know the data is stolen, they are not protected by being journalists, theft is theft. Now if the data shows government crimes, then we have whistleblower laws that protect both the whistleblower and whoever he tells.

  • Gramps

    Secrets are like “coins of the realm” to the world’s aristocracy, blue bloods and really rich bitches… Intel and background knowledge is in many ways more important to them than their inflated bank accounts. That gives you the first clue why… they’re really, really pissed at Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The anger is not about some specific leak; it’s about the invasion of their privileged offices, board rooms and sacrificed annominity.

    These disgusting intrusions must be curtailed immediately…or the contemptible, disgusting, “hoi polloi” will know that we’re normally constipated on a regular basis and when we take our intermittent, nocturnal dumps…!

    Damn, if we aren’t careful the world will come to realize that, we actually, really suck and … “pull our pants on, one leg at a time”, just like the rest of them.

    The real value is in having the knowledge of and accumulating the dark depths of their debauchery, its ‘actual substance remains of little concern…

    Keep on keepin’ on…Julian…!

  • pampl

    “First of all it is not Assange acquiring these documents. It is whistleblowers, so if he has not posted Australian or Swiss documents, it is because no whistleblower has given him documents. ”
    No. Assange doesn’t publish everything he’s given. He chose to publish these cables because he thinks it will prove his point about the US being an evil empire. He’s stated this explicitly. It’s on the front page of the cablegate site.

  • Gramps

    jg bennet // Dec 5, 2010 at 3:03 pm wrote: ”…they let communist china get the fastest train & super computer while our leaders fuss & pout about the cost of infrastructure and tax cuts then don’t say jack when the chinese politburo hacks and steals vital info from one of our most successful corporations…..

    Some call them…Republicans and others, Democrats…
    Will any of us… ever again, refer to “sorry politicians” as Americans…instead of self serving individuals…?

    ”I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.
    - Mark Twain in Eruption

  • Gramps

    Former UN ambassador…

    Bolton Attacks Obama for Wikileaks, Beclowns Self…
    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/

  • Banty

    ““His actions are, at once, indiscriminate, and discriminating. Notice that it is not Australia’s, or Switzerland’s, classified documents that are flying around the world. ”

    First of all it is not Assange acquiring these documents. It is whistleblowers, so if he has not posted Australian or Swiss documents, it is because no whistleblower has given him documents.”

    I beg to differ. Those who are bringing him documents, aren’t whistleblowers. The material is not documenting specific abuses; rather, it simply that something is classified secret, or even just private (Anglia CRU, Sarah Palin), that makes it grist for WikiLeak’s mill. This is the indiscriminate nature of the revelations. It is simply spew.

    “Second, there are plenty of embarassing things in these U.S. diplomatic cables for just about every country on the planet. So there is more revealed here than just some action against the U.S.”

    Pampl is correct that Assange has a specific animus against the US. That U.S. cables are *about* other countries (what else would they be about?) does not mean his actions are directed against them. Again, due to the indiscriminate nature of what is brought forth, whomever or whatever else is caught in this net, is secondary.

    Frankly, I don’t think we know Assange enough to know for sure if he would have published the abuses of the build up to the Iraq War. For all we know, he might have decided to sit on information, hoping that the Iraq invasion blow up in our faces. Note: he has stated that he has information on the Bank of America. No doubt there is interesting information there. But he will publish next year.

    Why next year?

    See, Assange is, wherever he is in whatever (metaphorical) cave, taking it upon himself to decide who, what, when, to spew information that has come his way. That’s the *discriminating* nature of his actions – he gets stuff, whatever stuff, but it is his *targets* and his *timing* that he has decided is in his purview.

    That is a heck of a lot of power to allow one person, however we may share his animus against this, or that, possible target of his. That sits OK with you???

    Like I said – lets not get so enamored of this guy.

  • lessadoabouteverything

    Banty

    I agree 100%. Leaking abuses at Abu Ghraib or purposeful misleading of the American people is fine, praiseworthy in fact. Disregarding 7,000 years of treating Diplomats as inviolable, along with their parcels, is Anti-Civilization. I am simply astounded at how people can ignore this most fundamental contract between nations. Personally, I think the guy is an a grade jackass in love with his press.

  • Gramps

    pampl // Dec 5, 2010 at 5:05 pm wrote: “…He chose to publish these cables because he thinks it will prove his point about the US being an evil empire. He’s stated this explicitly. It’s on the front page of the cablegate site.

    Begs the question…doesn’t it…?

    I’ve, railed on a regular basis… concerning the bogus Domino Theory with respect to our justifying, waging war on the people of Vietnam.

    Then the continuing, ever changing reasons, the Bush administration gave, for, moving the goal posts, in the war on the people of Iraq, for their oil…

    Finally settling on the totally bogus charges of “they possess WMDs” …!

    What’s a totally innocent, neutral, observer to surmise…
    The good, olde, USofA is and continues to be… the best thing since rolled, toilet paper…?

    Gimme ah break…!

  • armstp

    “That is the crux of the matter. As Digby says, what Dowd is describing — you have no right to know what the Government does and those who expose its activities are traitors and criminals, all while the Government demands to know everything you do and say and uses sprawling technology to invade your communications at will — is “called authoritarianism.” ” —– from a comment paraphrasing Matthew Dowd commenting on Wikileaks.

    “In a free society, we are supposed to know the truth. In a society where truth becomes treason, we are in big trouble”. – Ron Paul commenting on Wikileaks

    “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. That’s why I said yesterday: one’s reaction to WikiLeaks is largely shaped by whether or not one, on balance, supports what the U.S. has been covertly doing in the world by virtue of operating in the dark.” – Glenn Greenwall commenting on Wikileaks

    “I’m disgusted by Amazon’s cowardice and servility in abruptly terminating its hosting of the Wikileaks website, in the face of threats from Senator Joe Lieberman and other Congressional right-wingers. I want no further association with any company that encourages legislative and executive officials to aspire to China’s control of information and deterrence of whistle-blowing.”
    - letter to Amazon from Daniel Ellsberg

  • jg bennet

    Above all, I would teach him to tell the truth Truth-telling, I have found, is the key to responsible citizenship. The thousands of criminals I have seen in 40 years of law enforcement have had one thing in common: Every single one was a liar.
    J. Edgar Hoover

    We do not believe any group of men adequate enough or wise enough to operate without scrutiny or without criticism. We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it, that the only way to detect it is to be free to inquire. We know that in secrecy error undetected will flourish and subvert.
    J. Robert Oppenheimer

    We used to think that secrecy was perhaps the greatest enemy of democracy, and as long as there was no suppression or censorship, people could be trusted to make the informed decisions that would preserve our free society, but we have learned in recent years that the techniques of misinformation and misdirection have become so refined that, even in an open society, a cleverly directed flood of misinformation can overwhelm the truth, even though the truth is out there, uncensored, quietly available to anyone who can find it.
    Daniel C. Dennett (2006)

    Dennett spent part of his childhood in Lebanon, where, during World War II, his father was a covert counter-intelligence agent with the Office of Strategic Services posing as a cultural attaché to the American Embassy in Beirut

  • The Daily Talking Points « LobeLog.com

    [...] FrumForum / National Post: David Frum writes an anti-linkage piece describing how Arab capitals don’t care about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and are instead consumed with Iran. “Governments in the region do not in fact care very much about the Israeli-Palestinian dispute,” he writes. “They are transfixed by Iran. They are terrorized by the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon.” He suggests the United States should follow their lead and drop the Israeli-Palestinian conflict altogether until the Palestinians are ready to acquiesce to many of Israel’s demands. On Iran, Frum is alarmed by the WikiLeaks revelations: “WikiLeaks confirms and underscores the intransigence and belligerence of Iran.” Frum adds that Iran is “even more dangerous” than most analysts thought. [...]

  • Gramps

    armstp // Dec 5, 2010 at 8:27 pm wrote: So very well…

    I say …right on armstp…
    Here…here…opinion well stated and written…
    HOOAAH…!

  • Tina

    It’s time for you to buy a Christmas gift for your friends.
    Good Belstaff for you.
    http://www.belstaffjacketsoutlet.com

  • Monday Iran Talking Points | Israel: What happened to You

    [...] FrumForum / National Post: David Frum writes an anti-linkage piece describing how Arab capitals don’t care about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and are instead consumed with Iran. “Governments in the region do not in fact care very much about the Israeli-Palestinian dispute,” he writes. “They are transfixed by Iran. They are terrorized by the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon.” He suggests the United States should follow their lead and drop the Israeli-Palestinian conflict altogether until the Palestinians are ready to acquiesce to many of Israel’s demands. On Iran, Frum is alarmed by the WikiLeaks revelations: “WikiLeaks confirms and underscores the intransigence and belligerence of Iran.” Frum adds that Iran is “even more dangerous” than most analysts thought. [...]

  • Gramps

    jg bennet // Dec 5, 2010 at 8:31 pm wrote:
    “…but we have learned in recent years that the techniques of misinformation and misdirection have become so refined that, even in an open society, a cleverly directed flood of misinformation can overwhelm the truth, even though the truth is out there, uncensored, quietly available to anyone who can find it. Daniel C. Dennett (2006)

    jg b…might I surmise that the “…cleverly directed flood of misinformation can overwhelm the truth, even though the truth is out there, uncensored, quietly available to anyone who can find it.”

    1] “The flood of misinformation was projected by the government…”
    2] “The uncensored truth is out there quietly available to anyone who can find it…”
    3] Few if any…have the moral compass or even the totally, sublime “testicular fortitude” to publish the same…?

    Yah can’t “kid a kidder”, jg b…’
    There are actually those, who might…
    Hehehe…!

  • Closer Looks at Cables Reveals that Gulf Arab Leaders “Get” Linkage « LobeLog.com

    [...] to the American people that “the non-peace talks are necessary to curb the Iranian threat,” and David Frum writes that, “Governments in the region do not in fact care very much about the Israeli-Palestinian [...]

  • FrumFan

    Just found this interesting study. It predicts an increase in authoritarianism, using the government crackdown on Wikileaks as a prime example. The author says, “The WikiLeaks saga could end abruptly if the authoritarian impulse to extinguish the site prevails. Regardless, the struggle between secrecy and transparency—and authoritarianism and anti-authoritarianism—will continue to intensify.” Very interesting read. Highly recommended: http://www.socionomics.net/free-reports/1008/wikileaks-authoritarianism-update.aspx

  • Clinton Endorses “Linkage” in Major Policy Address « LobeLog.com

    [...] this type of reasoning seems well grounded in facts, hawkish pundits, like Jennifer Rubin and David Frum; right wing think-tanks, like the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (see their Friday [...]

  • Linkage and its discontents: What WikiLeaks reveals about Israel-Palestine - Blog Post

    [...] George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum crowed that the cables demonstrated the pointlessness of Middle East peacemaking. "We engage in these [...]