Monday, November 29, 2010

WikiDumps: Afflicting The Comfortable

"He is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands." - Sarah Palin
What strikes me as the takeaway from the ongoing WikiLeak's dump is the reaction. Whenever power balks, threatens or demonizes you know something substantial has occurred. Moreover, it's probably righteous. Sarah Palin has been suggesting that Julian Assange is the moral equivalent of Al Qaeda. Members of the press are outraged that the government was unable to keep its secrets from them. So when you hear the Pentagon, or the so-called "watchdog press", criticize WikiLeaks for jeopardizing security, endangering lives or doing more harm than good, just remember who has the real blood on their hands. And the real power to stop its flow, as the grandaddy of whistleblowers, Daniel Ellsberg of the Pentagon Papers, continues to point out.

When you hear pundits say, "No news here - seen it all before," these are transparently the words of people arriving late to the scene of a crime and pronouncing a death long after the body has turned cold. Don't believe a word. They've lost the scoop and are desperate to cover it up. As Glenn Greenwald notes, how one reacts to WikiLeaks will ultimately depend on how you feel about U.S. authority:
"Ultimately, WikiLeaks' real goal appears to me to be anti-authoritarian at its core: to prevent the world's most powerful factions from operating in the dark. There may be reasonable objections to this latest release -- such as the fact that war becomes more likely if diplomacy is undermined -- but I'd argue that one's views in general of WikiLeaks is shaped primarily by one's views of the legitimacy and justness of those authorities."
As in the run-up to the Iraq War, the financial meltdown of 2008, and the resignation of General McCrystal the media failed. Now they're aiding and abetting power in its attempt to shoot the messenger. But sniveling lapdogs lack the ability to do even that.

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