Democracy Now! - Glenn Greenwald debates "transparency advocate" (tm) on whether Assange is a hero

by: Paul Rosenberg

Fri Dec 03, 2010 at 13:30


Normally, one might consider Steven Aftergood one of the good guys.  He works for the Federation of American Scientists, where he directs the Project on Government Secrecy and runs Secrecy News, and yet, though I recognize his name going back to the 1990s, the sad fact is that for all his hard work, he has been losing the battle for transparency and openness for as long as he has been fighting it.  He is not alone of course.  Not alone in losing the battle for transparency and openness, certainly, but not alone in the larger range of battles for progressive values, many of which even conservatives used to support once upon a time.

The environment is one of those areas in which the entire Washington advocacy corps seems to have become entirely ineffective, for example, as no one at all is even noticing that the Cancun climate change summit is going on.  And, of course, net neutrality is being gutted as well--also on the watch of Mr. Fierce Advocate.  So I don't mean to pick on Steven Aftergood at all.  I just want to be realistic about the box that virtually all advocates have slowly but surely allowed themselvs to captured within--as Glenn Greenwald pointed out on Democracy Now! this morning.  First, the introduction, which begins with an overview of the intense government fight-back against WikiLeaks.  Can anyone possibly imagine the government unleashing anything remotely like the following full-throttle attack against high-level elite actors who had done something like outing a CIA officer?  Or fraudulently taking the American people to war? Or creating and running a torture program in violation of international law?:

JUAN GONZALEZ: WikiLeaks is under attack. The whistelblowing group's website has effectively been killed just days after Amazon pulled the site from its servers following political pressure. Wikileaks.org went offline this morning for the third time this week in what the Guardian newspaper is calling "the biggest threat to its online presence yet."

A California-based internet hosting provider called EveryDNS dropped WikiLeaks last night, late last night. The company says it did so to prevent its other 500,000 customers from being affected by the intense cyber attacks targeted at WikiLeaks.

This morning, WikiLeaks--and the massive trove of secret diplomatic cables it has been publishing since Sunday--was only accessible online through a string of digits known as a DNS address.

Earlier this week, Joe Lieberman, the chair of the Senate committee on Homeland Security, called for any organization helping to sustain WikiLeaks to immediately terminate its relationship with them.

Meanwhile, the State Department has blocked all its employees from accessing the site and is warning all government workers not to read the cables, even at home.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told The Guardian the developments are an example of the, quote, "privatization of state censorship." Assange said, quote, "These attacks will not stop our mission, but should be setting off alarm bells about the rule of law in the United States."

Sorry, Julian, but the rule of law alarm bells have been broken since at least the stealing of the presidency in late 2000.  But we get your drift.  Goodman concludes the introduction by shifting focus to the stated intention of WikiLeaks:

Paul Rosenberg :: Democracy Now! - Glenn Greenwald debates "transparency advocate" (tm) on whether Assange is a hero
AMY GOODMAN: Just what is WikiLeaks' mission? On its website, the group says, quote, "WikiLeaks is a non-profit media organization dedicated to bringing important news and information to the public." The website goes on, "We publish material of ethical, political and historical significance while keeping the identity of our sources anonymous, thus providing a universal way for the revealing of suppressed and censored injustices," unquote.

But not all transparency advocates support what WikiLeaks is doing. Today we'll host a debate. Steven Aftergood is one of the most prominent critics of WikiLeaks and one of the most prominent transparency advocates. He's the director of the government secrecy project at the Federation of American Scientists. He runs the Secrecy News project, which routinely posts non-public documents. He is joining us from Washington, D.C. We're also joined by Glenn Greenwald. He's a constitutional law attorney and political and legal blogger for Salon.com who's supportive of WikiLeaks. He's joining us from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

The first main point that Aftergood argues is that "WikiLeaks has launched a sweeping attack not simply on corruption, but on secrecy itself," and that secrecy is not necessarily bad.  That it can be very socially useful, particularly when the innocent are being protected by it. He also argued that the backlask against WikiLeaks will have harmful results for the more mild-mannered transparency activists as well:

AMY GOODMAN: We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Why don't we begin with Steven Aftergood? You have been a fierce proponent of transparency, yet you are a critic of WikiLeaks. Why?

STEVEN AFTERGOOD: I'm all for the exposure of corruption, including classified corruption. And to the extent that WikiLeaks has done that, I support its actions. The problem is, it has done a lot more than that, much of which is problematic. It has invaded personal privacy. It has published libelous material. It has violated intellectual property rights. And above all, it has launched a sweeping attack not simply on corruption, but on secrecy itself. And I think that's both a strategic and a tactical error. It's a strategic error because some secrecy is perfectly legitimate and desirable. It's a tactical error because it has unleashed a furious response from the U.S. government and other governments that I fear is likely to harm the interests of a lot of other people besides WikiLeaks who are concerned with open government.

Unfortunately, when asked for specifics, Aftergood points to less well-known past examples, which one can readily agree were early mistakes without having much relevance at all to what WikiLeaks is doing now:

JUAN GONZALEZ: And when you say-when you list some of the main errors that the organization has made, could you give some examples of what to you are most troubling, when you talk about the invasion of privacy rights and other-and the others that you've listed?

STEVEN AFTERGOOD: Last year, WikiLeaks published a thousand-page raw police investigative file from Belgium, investigating a case of child abuse and murder. And as one would expect, the police file included lots of unsubstantiated allegations that later turned out to be false. But by publishing the raw allegations in their original state, WikiLeaks brought embarrassment and disgrace to people who were in fact innocent. It got to the point where the Belgium government was looking into the possibility of blocking access to WikiLeaks, not as an act of censorship, but as an act of protection against libel.

WikiLeaks has also published what I think is probably the only actual blueprint of a nuclear fission device that has been made available online. It's not an artist's concept, but it's an actual blueprint of a real nuclear weapon that they posted online. I think from a proliferation point of view, that was a terrible mistake.

Of course, the Progressive magazine published similar material in hardcopy back in 1980.  So it's not really as if this were a state secret of any sort.  Next we hear Greenwald's response, which basically--and respectfully--asks what planet Aftergood is living on:

AMY GOODMAN: Glenn Greenwald, we want to bring you in before the break with a response.

GLENN GREENWALD: Right. Well, it's interesting because we led off the segment with you, Amy, detailing a whole variety of repressive actions that are being taken against WikiLeaks. And one of the reasons for that is because people like Steven Aftergood have volunteered themselves and thrust themselves into the spotlight to stand up and say, "I'm a transparency advocate, but I think that what WikiLeaks is doing in so many instances is terrible."

If you look at the overall record of WikiLeaks-and let me just stipulate right upfront that WikiLeaks is a four-year-old organization, four years old. They're operating completely unchartered territory. Have they made some mistakes and taken some missteps? Absolutely. They're an imperfect organization. But on the whole, the amount of corruption and injustice in the world that WikiLeaks is exposing, not only in the United States, but around the world, in Peru, in Australia, in Kenya and in West Africa and in Iceland, much-incidents that are not very well known in the United States, but where WikiLeaks single-handedly uncovered very pervasive and systematic improprieties that would not have otherwise been uncovered, on top of all of the grave crimes committed by the United States. There is nobody close to that organization in terms of shining light of what the world's most powerful factions are doing and in subverting the secrecy regime that is used to spawn all sorts of evils.

And I think the big difference between myself and Steven Aftergood is it is true that WikiLeaks is somewhat of a severe response, but that's because the problem that we're confronting is quite severe, as well, this pervasive secrecy regime that the world's powerful factions use to perpetrate all kinds of wrongdoing. And the types of solutions that Mr. Aftergood has been pursuing in his career, while commendable and nice and achieving very isolated successes here and there, is basically the equivalent of putting little nicks and scratches on an enormous monster. And WikiLeaks is really one of the very few, if not the only group, effectively putting fear into the hearts of the world's most powerful and corrupt people, and that's why they deserve, I think, enthusiastic support from anyone who truly believes in transparency, notwithstanding what might be valid, though relatively trivial, criticisms that Mr. Aftergood and a couple of others have been voicing.

This is pretty much all of the interview up to the first break.  You can read and/or hear the whole thing at the link above.  But one more thing is worth highlighting--the degree of extreme over-reach that's being employed to try to keep people from reading the already-released cables.  This is indicative of the authoritarian self-censoring mindset that the Obama Administration is diligently devoting itself to imposing.  One cannot even imagine what it would be like if they were one tenth this zealous in doing anything good:

AMY GOODMAN: I'm going to interrupt, because I want to get to some memos that we've been getting from around the country that are very important and interesting. University students are being warned about WikiLeaks. An email from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, that we read in headlines, reads-I want to do it again-quote, "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, Office of Career Services."

That's the email to Columbia University students at the School of International and Public Affairs.
Now, I want to go on to another memo. Democracy Now! has obtained the text of a memo that's been sent to employees at USAID. This is to thousands of employees, about reading the recently released WikiLeaks documents, and it comes from the Department of State. They have also warned their own employees. This memo reads, quote, "Any classified information that may have been unlawfully disclosed and released on the Wikileaks web site was not 'declassified' by an appopriate authority and therefore requires continued classification and protection as such from government personnel... Accessing the Wikileaks web site from any computer may be viewed as a violation of the SF-312 agreement... Any discussions concerning the legitimacy of any documents or whether or not they are classified must be conducted within controlled access areas (overseas) or within restricted areas (USAID/Washington)... The documents should not be viewed, downloaded, or stored on your USAID unclassified network computer or home computer; they should not be printed or retransmitted in any fashion."

That was the memo that went out to thousands of employees at USAID. The State Department has warned all their employees, you are not to access WikiLeaks, not only at the State Department, which they've blocked, by the way, WikiLeaks, but even on your home computers. Even if you've written a cable yourself, one of these cables that are in the trove of the documents, you cannot put your name in to see if that is one of the cables that has been released. This warning is going out throughout not only the government, as we see, but to prospective employees all over the country, even on their home computers.

And we're supposed to believe it's Russia that's essentially a criminal state?


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Has anyone else had the thought (4.00 / 1)
that the US government got Wikileaks taken down, not by pressure on Amazon or everyDNS, but by staging the cyberattacks that they cite as the reasons?

Do any of us really believe the U.S. government isn't using nefarious tactics to shut Wikileaks down?

I find that much more likely than that Lieberman had anything real to do with it.


Obviously It Was Both And More (4.00 / 2)
Sorry not to mention that, but this was primarily about the contrasting perspectives between critics who've adapted to Versailles and those who have not, so that was my focus.

Obviously, this is a very broad and widely coordinated attack.  The bogus Swedish prosecution should be enough to tip you off to that, if nothing else does.  The cyberattacks are something we should pretty much take for granted at this stage in the game.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
And the media still isn't getting the lesson (0.00 / 0)
If the media were to learn anything from the Wikileaks cables, it should be to quit parroting what the government is saying. How can they still not see that the government is lying to the media when they're reporting on cables that document how the government has lied to everyone else?

But instead, they simply report the Pentagon "We could take down Wikileaks, but we've chosen not to."


[ Parent ]
Why would you suppose that the interests of the media (0.00 / 0)
are different than the interests of the government.  Do you propose that they have separate intent?

"Oh. My. God. .... We're doomed." -- Paul Krugman
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...">http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...">http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...


[ Parent ]
How do you know that the sexual assault are false? (0.00 / 0)
Perhaps, but it seems to me that either way women are getting treated pretty shabbily- to be generous- here. either the notion of sexual assault is being ruthlessly manipulated, or a lot of putative progressives aren't very interested in sexual violence against women. It's a hell of a no win scenario, for women at least. We're lying bitches, or we're callously discarded victims. Fun!

[ Parent ]
Does The Name Scott Ritter Mean Anything To You? (4.00 / 1)
The elite have an MO in dealing with gadflies like this: make a murky sex charge.  Plus, of course, everything I've heard about the background of this case smells fishy.

I might feel differently if it actually were irrelevant. That is, if the sorts of inconvenient truths either of these gentlemen dredged up were already a matter of serious elite concern, and would continue to be so with or without them.  But since this is clearly not the case, the overwhelming presumption simply has to be that it's just pure character assasination.

The fact that sex crime charges are used only makes the authorities seem even more morally depraved, if that were even possible.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
Ah, so the appropriately named (4.00 / 1)
Aftergood can play the New Republic role, "Even the liberal New Republic..."

I don't buy his premise (Ezra Klein made the same claim) that there's a clear line between secrecy and corruption; obviously the former breeds the latter.

What's more, Assange has, in fact, attempted to protect innocent people who could be hurt and asked the Pentagon to help him; it refused.

And to this point there hasn't been any reports that someone's been harmed by these documents.  


I Think It's SLIGHTLY More Complicated (4.00 / 2)
than denying the claim that there's a clear line between secrecy and corruption.  Sometimes, there is.

But the main point, which you cite--"obviously the former breeds the latter"--is completely independent of that.

It's not about drawing neat little Venn Diagrams. It's about diagnosing--and then trying to cure--a civilizational sickness unto death.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
What we have here is a failure to communicate (4.00 / 1)
When one looks at the bigger picture in this saga, you kind of have to think of George Kennedy and Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke.  And I don't think the Assange or the people of the world would be represented by Kennedy.  The chain boss is applying a little lesson to Assange and the rest of us, so we don't misunderstand where we stand.  

The only thing I would point out is even though Luke Jackson died in the movie, and perhaps Julian Assange will be figuratively "sunffed out," this so called globalized machine that runs our country and arguably the world has a less than stellar history of dominating the peasants.

What eventually will have to be asked, even by Americans, is can the world afford to support this oppressive system.  How much longer will foreign governments be pre-empted from carrying out the laws of their country?  I think this question is what Amy Goodman has devoted her life to.  This incident (Wikileak's release of cables) is just one facet of what was meant by "There will be blood."

"Oh. My. God. .... We're doomed." -- Paul Krugman
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...">http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...">http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c...


[ Parent ]
And yet, where is the outcry? (4.00 / 2)
Aside from here within the limits of the blogosphere?  

I was only old enough to be vaguely cognizant of what was going on with the Pentagon Papers in the early '70s; but, weren't newspapers, at least, outraged by the Kissinger-led attempts to have their employees charged under the Espionage Act?

The government's latest multi-headed frontal assault on whistleblowers and investigative media ought to be of great concern to all media (nevermind all Americans); but, mostly silence.


By extension, Wikileaks have also illustrated the corruption inherent in US media outlets. (4.00 / 5)
Bill Keller admitted openly they don't print any of this stuff without permission from the White House. So he'd rather trash the credibility of his own newspaper than do anything Big Brother would disapprove of. Rather telling, eh?

The memos from universities also are interesting in the level of institutional panic that seems to be occurring. "If you want to get a job later, you'll do what we say." Of course, to many of those prospective employees, they may see a kind of light on their career choices they hadn't considered before, like: "Do I really want to be owned this way, just to have a friggin' job?"

The thought occurs a Columbia student probably has other options that don't involve becoming a slave to the security state.

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates


[ Parent ]
I've had this conversation before (4.00 / 3)
They told us the same thing during the protests over Viet Nam. You'll never get elected to public office. You'll never get a job that requires a security clearance, which even then meant most government jobs.

My response -- at the age of 23 -- was I don't give a fuck. 44 years later, I'd give the same answer.


[ Parent ]
I have a simple question - no snark: what's the limit? (0.00 / 0)
For the most part, I agree that Wikileaks serves a vital purpose and that the attacks on the website & the charges against Assange are probably contrived & deliberate.

My question: since there is a clear difference between secrecy & corruption, do you think Assange is the single best judge to determine what to make public?  Can any one person be trusted in that position?  

I'm asking because at one point in my career I was involved in quite a bit of secrecy helping battered women & their children escape & stay away from batterers.  Not a national issue I realize, but certainly one that illustrates a clear need for secrecy.  Similar circumstances undoubtedly apply on national & international levels.

I believe Wikileaks provides a vital service.  I also believe no single human being should be sole judge regarding publicizing sensitive information they might be handed.  

How should the line be drawn?  What's your opinion?


It's A Good Question (4.00 / 2)
But it's totally misplaced.  Since that's not really the issue now.

Of course Saddam Hussein is going to say, "Think of your children!" as he's lead of to be executed.

Expect nothing different here.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
Forgive or please indulge my ignorance, but to me it is exactly the question now (0.00 / 0)
From what I've gathered so far this particular Wikileaks dump is not about a specific issue (as was the Pentagon Papers).  The documents weren't even released on an issue-by-issue basis; they are simply a huge dump of classified information about US diplomacy.  

I've never read that the greatest investigative journalists, like Seymour Hersh, did this.  From what I gather, Assange doesn't even have the standard journalist "3 confirmed sources" procedure in place.  When he couldn't get cooperation at the Pentagon, where did he turn?

As a respected recourse for whistle blowers, I applaud him.  But I'm considering that he went way overboard this time.  I don't applaud that.  

I respect your opinion & certainly your time, which is why I asked my question.


[ Parent ]
I'm Perplexed (4.00 / 2)
Assange doesn't pretend to be a Sy Hersh.  He's more of a midwife to leakers and whistleblowers.  So what's all this talk about "3 confirmed sources"?  How does that even remotely figure into things?

Now, I might feel very differently if half the big lies and major crimes of the Bush Administration had been seriously investigated, debunked and prosecuted.  But we don't live in that universe, know what I mean?  We live in a gangster state, and it's only getting worse.  Anything that seriously impedes that dynamic is a good thing in my book.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
moot point (4.00 / 1)
The media is still parroting the government line that the main story in the Wikileaks cables is the straining of diplomacy because there's no longer a guarantee of confidentiality.

The real story is having definite evidence of the US government lying about it's motives and actions. Lying to congress, lying to foreign governments, lying to the public, lying to itself.

But the media downplays that, if it touches it at all - that's not what the State Department is screaming about, so it must not be important.

It's the role of the media to figure out where legitimate secrecy ends and corruption begins. When the media fails to do it's job, the only thing left to do is to put the raw documents into the public domain.

FWIW, I don't think Assange is making the decisions about what to release on his own. He probably consults with lawyers and other advisors, I think he said he asked for advice from the US government, and his strategy of giving documents to major newspapers before publicly releasing them allows newspaper editors to weigh in on stuff they think shouldn't be published.

But it's the knowledge that Assange will put it all into the public domain that forces the newspapers to actually deal with this stuff - otherwise the typical reporter would simply bury it beneath whatever official story they got off the record from some government functionary.


[ Parent ]
Our government & every other has always lied, apparently (0.00 / 0)
Which is the value of Wikileaks in the absence of a Seymour Hersh expose.  

You're guessing & assuming that Assange has a valid procedure in place to determine what to release.  I like to gather my facts before I make a definitive judgement.  

For those issues that specify lying by the US, I agree the documents should have been released, but as I previously stated there's such a huge dump here it's taking RESPECTED journalists (mostly European it figures) days to review what's been dumped.  

That isn't quality, selective journalism - to me, as a former small-town reporter, it's yellow journalism.  Dump the accusations & let someone else sort out the truth.  Faux News style.


[ Parent ]
valid procedure (4.00 / 2)
I didn't say he has a valid procedure in place. I said I don't think he's making the decisions on his own. The idea that he consults lawyers is pure speculation, but not unreasonable. The point about having time for newspaper editors to weigh in is verifiable. I've read that he claims that he is withholding some things he views as having a valid reason for confidentiality. No way to know that's true.

I don't think it's fair to judge Assange against a journalism standard. Maybe he thinks he's a journalist, but he's not. He's a monkeywrencher. There's an unsavory aspect to monkeywrenching - who cares what the result is downstream, just blow up the dam.

The reason Wikileaks is important is that no major media with the resources to do it has been tracking down all the leads on all these stories. Iran. The Spanish torture investigations. The Afghanistan corruption. There's no major surprises in the cables for any of us who have had a skeptical attitude to what the US government has said it's doing. But the evidence wasn't making it into the major news outlets. Now at least a little of it is, even though they seem to be set on reporting it more as a soap opera drama than as criminal behavior.


[ Parent ]
Little Brother (4.00 / 4)
This is what Orwell totally missed.  Many think we live in 1984 today, but in reality, over the past decade or so, Little Brother has been a much large influence on society than Big Brother.

Orwell never realized every citizen could carry a video camera in her pocket and have the ability to instantly upload videos to where the full world could watch it.  He certainly didn't see WikiLeaks coming.

While we get depressed and angry over the backlash, it's good to remember it is backlash to positive change they haven't figured out how to contain.

There's still hope for this sorry species...


thank you - (0.00 / 0)
and what a wise post - and how funny that nearly everybody missed the major relevation  - and this awesome moral of Wikileaks - In our century YOU can 'dump' on anybody - and how nice this post corresponds with the power of 'the people' - in another thread!  

[ Parent ]
YOU - (0.00 / 0)
JUST F.... HAVE TO DO IT!

[ Parent ]
but let's not forget - (0.00 / 0)
- at the same time - it"s the major 'pest' too - You can't believe how hard it is - to still lead some kind of a private life in these times of 'total dumping' - and all my friends who showed their boobs and other private parts will regret it deeply
that they once even handed out their e-mail or their telephone numbers - and the cool thing will be - to lead a complete private life - without pictures or stories from your past - and then our friend Zuckerberg will have to invent the 'unsocial network'!

[ Parent ]
and you will have to move - (0.00 / 0)
much further than a Valerie Plame who moved to Santa Fe  to escape the "dumpers"- because if the "dumpers" are on the wrong side of the "leaking business" even our 'good' Glenn won't be able to advocate for transperancy!  

[ Parent ]
Privacy (0.00 / 0)
Over time, I've come to the David Brin line of thinking on privacy.  His basic assumption is privacy is dead, more or less.  The real issue is who controls the data, the elite or everyone.

For this reason, he argues against many things privacy advocates argue for.  Brin makes a strong case that privacy advocates are really just preventing common people from getting access to information while doing nothing to prevent the elites from doing the same.

He doesn't argue against all privacy laws, though.  It makes sense for medical records to only be visible by doctors and their patients, for example.  But when analyzed through the lens of power, it is amazing how often privacy advocates are on the wrong side.  For example, all video from monitor cameras should be available to everyone, on line, including historical data.


[ Parent ]
you are talking about privacy - (0.00 / 0)
and I am talking about 'privacy' - And you must be one of these "political" advocats for 'dumping' - but do you realize there is a whole very "unpolitical" business out there of boyfriends 'dumping' on their girfriends (and vice versa) - and no 'elite' is very interested in this kind of 'data' -(until they suddenly are) - and I understand it might be foolish to try to seperate this one from the other - but we better start - because nothing is more ugly and destructive as the power of gossip -(as the last Wikidump demonstrated) - and I'am -(as you are) - very interested in "political transparency" if it helps my side - I only become an avid advocat for 'political privacy' too if I see a movie like Fair Game and have to watch what this 'transparency' does to a victim like Valerie Plame...
(but that's how funny people are...)

[ Parent ]
and I would like to ad - (0.00 / 0)
if it would have been me -( Julian) - I would have redacted all the gossip - and I would have accepted that the 'dump' wouldn't have been AS successful - and the world wouldn't have learned -(for example) - that the German Foreign Minister is a real idiot -(what everybody in Germany knows) - But now also some housewife in Kansas knows it -(because a poor American diplomat - who probably will loose his job - put it down in writing) - And this "diplomat" didn't even put the juiciest 'known' into his cable - that in Germany the gay affairs of a Foreign Minister are no big deal -(if he isn't an idiot) - and so such 'political transparancy' becomes the equivalency of the rant of a disappointed boyfriend - and I don't welcome that because I am this really 'good' person - even better than Julian - and even better than Glenn Greenwald -(and that's really hard to do) - and sometimes I'm so overwhelmed about my 'betterness" that... that...
uuuh!



[ Parent ]
Oh Sure! (4.00 / 1)
While we get depressed and angry over the backlash, it's good to remember it is backlash to positive change they haven't figured out how to contain.

The elite outrage is the most significant thing.  It shows that he's done something really unsettling to them.  That alone is a very good thing, indeed.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
yeah - (0.00 / 0)
that's my favorite 'thing' too - thee 'unsettling thing'!

[ Parent ]
about the charges (0.00 / 0)
Assange's Interpol Warrant Is for Having Sex Without a Condom

When Interpol issued an arrest warrant earlier this week for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the international police agency charged him with "sex crimes" but didn't specify the offense any further, prompting rumors that he had been accused of rape. He hadn't. "It turns out," Washington's Blog reports, that "it was for violating an obscure Swedish law against having sex without a condom." During a business trip to Stockholm last August, Assange had unprotected sex with two women (a bizarre and painfully detailed account is available on the Daily Mail's Web site) who upon realizing that they had both slept with him-and that he had blown them both off-jointly approached police about his refusal to take an STD test. At the time, Assange's Swedish lawyer confirmed that "the principal concern the women had about Assange's behavior ... related to his lack of interest in using condoms and his refusal to undergo testing, at the women's request, for sexually transmitted disease." (Assange actually did use a condom with one of the women, but it broke.) This, apparently, is hazy legal territory in Sweden. While the "consent of both women to sex with Assange has been confirmed by prosecutors," as a former attorney wrote in an impassioned op-ed, Assange has been charged with something called "sex by surprise," which reportedly carries a $715 fine. According to Assange's London attorney, Mark Stephens, prosecutors have yet to explain the charges or meet with the WikiLeaks chief to discuss them, which he's agreed to do. "Whatever 'sex by surprise' is, it's only an offense in Sweden-not in the U.K. or the U.S. or even Ibiza," Stephens fumed. "I feel as if I'm in a surreal Swedish movie being threatened by bizarre trolls."

Read original story in Washington's Blog | Friday, Dec. 3, 2010

http://slatest.slate.com/id/22...

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