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Author Topic: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?  (Read 12378 times)

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Offline Revolverman

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #75 on: December 07, 2010, 07:59:47 AM »
Uh..he's not dead.

And.. global economy. Just because it's not in country doesn't mean it's NOT critical.

Its also not the US's business.

Offline Trieste

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Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #76 on: December 07, 2010, 08:01:20 AM »
Uh..he's not dead.

(I suspect that's why it was described as 'metaphorical'.  ::))

Offline fallen paradise

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #77 on: December 10, 2010, 11:16:21 PM »
My 2 cents. While I can support the role of investigative journalism in our free society there are also ethical safeguards that help reign in the traditional media. I dislike the mentality that all information should be free. It is a pie in the sky idealistic notion that fails in basic society. I also disagree that secrecy is at direct odds with our democracy or rule of law. The legal system respects several types of secrecy. Attorney client privilege, the sanctity of marital privilege, doctor patient confidentiality - even the shield laws which allow true journalists to protect the identity of their sources.

People have this irrational fear of the government and seem to think that we must know everything they are doing. However it is somewhat arrogant to assume that the government officials who are dealing diplomatically with foreign nationals need some degree of privacy in order to fulfill their duties. The belief that honesty is always the best policy is about as foolish as other kindergarten ideals like "you can do anything you want to" or "we can get along with everyone."

I'm not saying that lying or hiding things is the best policy either, but to say either must preclude the other is an example of binary thinking that ignores the intensely nuanced reality in which we live.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #78 on: December 11, 2010, 11:06:33 AM »
My 2 cents. While I can support the role of investigative journalism in our free society there are also ethical safeguards that help reign in the traditional media. I dislike the mentality that all information should be free. It is a pie in the sky idealistic notion that fails in basic society. I also disagree that secrecy is at direct odds with our democracy or rule of law. The legal system respects several types of secrecy. Attorney client privilege, the sanctity of marital privilege, doctor patient confidentiality - even the shield laws which allow true journalists to protect the identity of their sources.

You know, I just realized something. Wikileaks wouldn't respect ANY of those elements of secrecy. If they got anything that tied to one of them they wouldn't care. I could see them posting anything that they thought would merit attention.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #79 on: December 18, 2010, 01:02:14 PM »
Color me a bit confused, but isn't it harder for the US to extradite Assange from Sweden than the UK? I know as long as the death penalty isn't on the docket it is fairly cut and dried. Though the UK authorities don't have anything on him and last time I checked "bloody tool" wasn't a chargeable offense in the States either.

Not that given the level of support Assange has, that I expect the case in Sweden to hold water.


Offline Trieste

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Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #80 on: December 18, 2010, 01:34:37 PM »
If 'being a tool' was a chargeable offense in the US I guarantee you that every president, vice prez, secretary of state and most senators would be in jail because I guarantee you at least one person in the country thought they were being a tool at least once. :P

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #81 on: December 18, 2010, 01:48:23 PM »
If 'being a tool' was a chargeable offense in the US I guarantee you that every president, vice prez, secretary of state and most senators would be in jail because I guarantee you at least one person in the country thought they were being a tool at least once. :P

Exactly. Why not go to Swedenband let a bunch of high price lawyers tear the case to shreds?  I can't find much that fills me with confidence on the charges. Whereas he breaks a law in the UK, he's extradited before high tea. Well not really but as soon as the US can find something to stick.

Right now, he is at most 'persona non grata' in the US. I don't see a reason to grant him an entry visa, but nothing he's done merits jail time in the States.

I do want to know who he pissed off in Sweden to get put on the Interpol most wanted list. That makes me curious. Of course i'm sure he won't tell us why. 

That would violate HIS privacy.

Offline Kate

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #82 on: December 22, 2010, 09:38:05 AM »
i think he is a champion of truth.

Secrecy and privacy are different. I think the main debate is what should be secret and what shouldnt be.

Personally I don't trust anyone who thinks that I am not suitable to know certain information - unless it relates to medical or romantic nature of others.

The idea that governments need secrecy to do what they wish is historical its not vital, and it is open to be abused.

Anything I want to try or two that is shameful or embrassing - hmm ... how about it in the national or party or my own interest for it to be secret and confidendial - phew => no accountability to anyone as they dont know or can prove anything. How would that not be abused.

If Julians work shows such power being abused, ideally it should raise the question "transparent government" - what no secret projects ? um no. What about military projects ? Um no. But wouldn't that give our weaknesses to other countries ? Yes and no - such a move would be something others would want to be part of - and i think a critcal mass of countries etc could make this the norm (ideally the un being the only real superpower ... all others have enough to manage skirmishes etc ... anything serious and un appears). This does mess with the idea of owneship for coorparations say pharmacudical companies researching a drug - giving that knowlege freely means they cant reap returns - but knowing something and directly exploiting it is different. I hope this could be a step towards a new look at the democracy we want "democracy 2.0"


Offline Bayushi

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #83 on: December 22, 2010, 03:10:14 PM »
What about military projects ? Um no. But wouldn't that give our weaknesses to other countries ? Yes and no - such a move would be something others would want to be part of - and i think a critcal mass of countries etc could make this the norm (ideally the un being the only real superpower ... all others have enough to manage skirmishes etc ... anything serious and un appears).

Pie in the Sky wishful thinking there, Kate.

Without the secrecy our military uses now, we'd have had much more death and destruction than you seem to realize.

The UN is not even a "power", much less a "super power". They are a bloated bureaucracy incapable of much of anything without demanding it of the US.

The "norm"? It will NEVER be the norm. People are people, and as people (in a group) are stupid, they will continue to do stupid things. War is as much a part of life as peace is. We will never have a century of existance without at least one major war.

"Openness" and "Transparency" did not win the Second World War. Nor did it end the Cold War.

Offline Soran

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #84 on: December 22, 2010, 04:17:56 PM »
Okay, I haven't gone through every post, but as far as I'm concerned, Mr Wikileaks is guilty of Treason. The old fanfare of 'free speech' gets old fast. Free Speech is all well and good, but when that has real world consequences that could have profound effects on how a country deals with others, it goes too far. It's like broadcasting the exact position and disposition of your countries forces giving an enemy a devastating advantage. Treason, pure and simple. Shoot the fucker and be done.

Offline Oniya

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Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #85 on: December 22, 2010, 04:21:18 PM »
The problem with calling it treason is that he is not a US citizen.  I don't think you can be charged with treason against a foreign country.

Offline Soran

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #86 on: December 22, 2010, 04:45:36 PM »
He's Australian, a citizen of an ally of the U.S. then I think a treason charge is still applicable. Just my opinion of course :)

Offline Trieste

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Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #87 on: December 22, 2010, 04:54:38 PM »
>.> Treason applies only to US citizens, not allies.

The thing he might be guilty of (debatable) is espionage.

Offline kylie

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Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #88 on: December 22, 2010, 06:15:37 PM »
        I think Kate might be onto something there...  If you look at the history of technology and public disclosure of information, there is usually some body of information that is actually treated as publicly available by a growing number of people -- before it is officially public knowledge.  During that time, there are also usually a number of opponents of that information actually being declared publicly accessible.  And yet, in many of these cases, in the end it is all put online and most people have access to it.  By that time, it all seems less novel and in fact, only a limited number of people actually access it and make much use of it.  But when the need arises, there it is.  A widely known, informal protocol has evolved such that people generally only use it for what it was made available for.

       One example might be databases of prior legal cases, which may include a great amount of private data and information about the workings of large organizations.  We could imagine excuses for a government to declare these state secrets if it were so inclined (and in a time of large-scale, conventional war it might well do so), but we do not see our government doing this.  The material is out there in the open -- for those who are really dedicated to finding it, that is.  So...  The question becomes why is a particular kind of information deemed essential to security or where is the balancing point between security and the public's interest in ethical government. 

       While I have heard the argument that in principle, none of the documents should have left their home databases...  Once we actually crossed that bridge, it seems that the media organizations have done a fairly decent job of either not releasing those cables that were fundamental to national security, or redacting portions that were sensitive themselves.  Given that our major media outlets already have a tradition of staying cozy with the government apparatus and that includes an understanding of what kinds of release will really get them blacklisted...  I'm not sure I can see this as an exceptional case.  Now if Wikileaks had not redacted anything and simply posted the whole archive in the original then it would perhaps be another story.   

       I'm sure some people will disagree, but it strains my imagination to think that what has been released was not already fairly common knowledge in policy circles and even among most militant organizations with a half decent intelligence arm.    The average American citizen might not have known that many Mideast governments were keeping a wary eye on Iran, but I can't believe that our diplomats were the only ones with any inkling of this.  It seems that there is a pretty long history of realist, balance of power politics and shrewd bargaining in the region... 

       I'd venture it's much more likely that the only people truly in the dark were those Western publics whose education, media, and politicians really don't tell them much about these regions their countries have invested so much for adventures in.   Unfortunately, I bet most of us will remain in the dark because 1) most people won't read so much of it and aren't interested to research and make sense of it (it's also in diplo-jargon), and 2) it's still been selectively released to the point where we may not have all that much more clue than what we started with. 

       As for the militants:  Even if they didn't have so much info to read on one site before, they still have to go to the work of reading/ catching up and they can only read what has been released, with redactions and what not.  Assuming they can manage that, then they have to decide whatever to really believe and what is important or useful, just like all the diplomats.  It's not like releasing a troop movement hours before the event.   
« Last Edit: December 22, 2010, 06:24:22 PM by kylie »

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #89 on: December 22, 2010, 06:37:12 PM »
It's been well known for a LONG time that the Saudis, Kuwaitis and most of the smaller Gulf States look upon Iran as the 'bully on the block.' They have a MASSIVE length of beach, and have for all intents and purposes control of the entrance to the Gulf. The Straits are only like ten or so miles wide and they can almost boresight a gun to fire upon traffic coming and going. That means without a military that they respect running 'traffic cop' in the gulf, they can pretty much do what they damn well please.

So yeah, the requests from the Saudi and Kuwaiti governments about them come as no surprise. I imagine the US (along with anyone else who would listen and had the forces to fight them) have had LOTS of requests about dealing with Iran over the years. No one likes a theocratic government like Iran next door, knowing that they might want to expand their borders. (And I have heard those sorts of concerns in Bahrain and Dubai YEARS ago when I did my tour through there.) They are mostly moderate governments and know the Iranians would love to line a lot of the officials against a wall and shoot them.

Offline Reno

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #90 on: December 22, 2010, 07:16:06 PM »
Bruce Schneier made a great point recently (the particular post is about the growing tendency to attempt to criminalize citizens recording police, but the point is salient to WL as well). 

Quote
Privacy has to be viewed in the context of relative power. For example, the government has a lot more power than the people. So privacy for the government increases their power and increases the power imbalance between government and the people; it decreases liberty. Forced openness in government -- open government laws, Freedom of Information Act filings, the recording of police officers and other government officials, WikiLeaks -- reduces the power imbalance between government and the people, and increases liberty.

Offline Kate

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #91 on: December 22, 2010, 09:33:32 PM »
"He's Australian, a citizen of an ally of the U.S. then I think a treason charge is still applicable. Just my opinion of course :)" - Soran

Soran... that perspective is scary. I would feed the opposite view more. Fence sitters would be more swayed to my side of thinking if views like that were a common us civilian stance.

I think "Treason" is a label that is immature, many things could be deemed as such if its not in the existing powerbases best interest => "Treason" is too large a net, too crude a tool and implies more mal-intent than what the actions really were intended for or have done.

To me its like saying

"Witch because I say so ... burn them."

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #92 on: January 03, 2011, 09:23:18 PM »
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/jan/03/zimbabwe-morgan-tsvangirai

I've cruised most of the US new sources (including the AP, Reuters and a print news agencies) and haven't found much on this side of the Atlantic. Most of what I found are from folks like The Guardian and such. Anyone else hear about this?

Basically Wikileaks posted a message that put the reform-minded member of the Zimbabwe's government. Morgan Tsvangirai talked to western diplomats about the use of sanctions to promote positive change in the regime in that country. As a result of the release of these cables, he is being investigated for possible treason charges.

Which will result in his death and the setting back of reform and government change 30 years in that country. I find it strange that has been curiously unaddressed in the US media.

Offline Kate

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #93 on: January 04, 2011, 12:22:01 AM »
"The ends justifying the means" seems to apply to many perspectives.

"The means of exposing secrets to see to a certain end"
"The means of imposing secrets to see to a certain end"

What I don't seem to follow is a strong belief that if secrecy is exploited for non ethical intentions,
 
Those exposing it should be punished, this effectively gives says

"Hmm governments and stuff should be allowed to be unethical and do dogy stuff and play nasty games, thats what governments do in the past therefore it should be fine for the current one and future ones. Sure others may have issues with it but THAT only happened because it stopped being secret.

The "problem" isn't how power is abused people should expect it to be abused. The  problem is others making it public so lets punish the exposers, protect the abusers of secrecy ... um we have laws for that yes - treason ? espionage phew !! wow thay are catch all aces for heaps ! damn if I am not going to play those any time I can

... hmm how do we prevent this happening again ?

Hmm lets make more conditions that count for such things - penalties harsher and put pressure on other countries to do the same in case its their civillians that pissed us off - wouldn't mind reaching those also ... hmm done.

What a great days work, my mom must be so proud. God bless America. The land of true truth, the real just, the only right, cause damn we have options for those who see life through their own perspective.

Hmm, seems all our trade conditions ensure these are now settled and no room for debate - excellent makes my job easier. Which means I may be bored tomorrow ... lets have a look at that list of resources that America wants more of ... rare earths ? Who has all those ? China ! damn thats a super power can't take over that one that easily, pity, hmm whats next on the list...  Ah ! good that will do, now to try and make up a reason for us to appear in force... hmm tentative but what the hell... lets do that anyway. Done !  Wow what america does for world peace. They just dont get it - there would be no more wars if everyone just agreed to america ! We have already proved we are altruistic ! Those lorals can't be worn thin - ever. After WWII we could have kept on conquering but we didn't so that proves we are good, for ever more no matter what .... hey we even made the UN - yeah we veto anything that could take away our power but its called the UN so that should be enough."

Even if some laws are broken, how appropriate they are should be placed in doubt if their existence is being exploited.
If you have a law for something it doesn't mean the law is right. Many unethical laws exist, doesn't mean applying the law is justified. "Under the law we can detain X for Y days with charge" => Therefore legal - therefor ok.
or "This is an act of espionage = therefore illegal - therefore bad.

This lets laws define too much, we stop being people and become "behavior sets" which different processes apply to.

Terrorist ??  <facepalm>

Now I know this isn't true of individual American citizens nor likely is true from an individuals within ministries of the US.
But as far as foreign policy goes as a whole America seems to act this way, and just doesn't seem to want to stop,

What seems to be pushed is everyone "else" which is wrong, and that America is authoritarian on what is good or right, or true. This doesn't win hearts and minds, fighting momentum of non-agreement or disagreement its just going to make America "vs" more and more and more and more for longer and longer and longer, until something gives.

Ideally internally to America (ie their own civilians are bored of this) and America reinvents itself. Recent complications in other countries and wiki-leaks is an opportunity for that, if they are not what would be ? America always seems to need to be on top of everything .. they can't just let some things go and chill out a little and frankly I'm not sure if America can stop doing this even if it knows its spreading itself too thin, I think it would prefer to tear itself to pieces than give up trying.

So much drama ... America just chill !  More like Dramerica :)

And I know some here are USA citizens and will feel passionate about defending the actions of their country. But most others in other countries don't have the same passionate-nationalistic-association on dynamic principals though and are more than happy to go

" from your perspective yeah you have a point , still we work with what we have " and leave it there ..

but ones who are a ... Dramerican ... (and I am not saying all Americans are) they will want to choose conflict with what I say and NEED to assume an authoritarian stance on interpretation and truth.... want to fight what I imply here. Imply what I am saying is due to an inferior or flawed mindset, will want others to agree with you, need to win (America = win, game = everything, time = always, place = everywhere) , act if so by their own fathoming - beleive they have. Then be dismissive on those who didn't side with you ... then choose an aggressive stance on another topic ...  pounce on it ... choose a hard line, be exposed to those not agreeing ... repeat.

If America was a person its not a friend, nor someone one can really reason with, more like a sports jock that shouts the loudest, threatens the most, punches the fastest the hardest and knows it. Muscles their way to steal every ball they see anyone playing with, no matter what game.   Seems America doesn't want to "play" with other nations - they just want to "own" all balls others can play with. The only times they even think to appeal to other nations is when there is behavior they want other nations to do for Americas best interest.

If countries were people, and the world a house, America would be one of the most unpleasant people to live with,
but you have to agree with the arrogant loud mouth aggressive jock because you don't want to be beaten up for even implying they are a <bleep>.

"Omg America we be worse so therefore is good. And has done some good therefore good" ... no, just because the jock has done SOME good and hasnt yet eaten every baby and killed all the houses pets doesn't make the jock good or right or truthful or reasonable on subjects the jock chooses have issues with.

Each issue the jock does, it chooses one of the hardest stances conceivable. The only reason the jock isn't eating all the houses babies is because currently the jock doesn't want to, judging from past behavior its certainly not ethical or humanitarian reasons which would prevent them doing so.

Doing whatever you want then claiming its "In the interests of world peace" ... "In the interests of National Security" or "its principal X which is more important than any conflicting principal, we have thought about it longer and in a manner more in depth and inclusive than anyone cause we are America, we are more authoritarian on what that is and when it applies so there. And OMG the world will implode otherwise ! trust us we know ! One way - American way.

Then vilifying or dismissing those who think otherwise only enchants .. and enthralls and convinces.

... the Dramericans.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2011, 07:31:12 AM by Kate »

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #94 on: January 04, 2011, 01:48:49 AM »
Uh.. Kate, what was all that about? I simply asked if anyone had seen something outside UK commentary on what happened.

And FYI, the UN Veto isn't just the US. EVERYONE on the security council has it. Hence the actual lack of action on the behalf of the UN.

Offline Kate

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #95 on: January 04, 2011, 01:51:18 AM »
Callie,

I never said just the USA has veto powers, nor was my past post a critique of yours :)
« Last Edit: January 04, 2011, 02:11:04 AM by Kate »

Offline kylie

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Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #96 on: January 04, 2011, 09:54:51 AM »
 That's an interesting column, Callie!  First the philosophical part…  I’ll be back with a little research section. 

          It is indeed curious that more real "news" articles have not been generated about it...  After some searching, I think that is because the actual situation is quite messy.  Which if I am not awfully mistaken, is the sort of politics Wikileaks aims to expose.  Do many people have the time and courage to pursue accountability for the actors in question after that?  Perhaps not...  It may be useful for research, though.  Sometimes, society adopts the concepts writers churn out a few (or many) years later.

          Speaking a few Googles up from the average Zimbabwe-clueless American, we have a fundamental problem.  No one knows very much about what is actually going on.  That's fine if you take it for granted that our government always does all of the research for us.  "Obviously" they must have done the legwork appropriately and figured out properly who the "least worst" people to cozy up to might be.  "Surely," State's agenda is all good for democracy and human rights and women and minorities.  "Surely" they are going to ensure that a rising tide lifts all boats in Africa soon.   "Of course" there is nothing neo-colonialist going on here... 

         Oh, but since it's in the news and we have a few summaries of "insider" talk to make it sound juicy, we can drag ourselves off Facebook for an hour and take just a little peek.  Who knows, we might just learn something that gives us outsiders new ideas about what is important.  Scary, huh?  Why, governments shut off credit cards (to Swedish outfits no less!) and come up with excuses to kill people who suggest there might be something else that's important in life...  They call it counterintelligence and national security, too.  (PS: It's really better job security than chasing WMD.  Who’s ever going to find out if you did something in Africa or not?  Just drop the “uranium” part.)

A conservative, perhaps more "security"-oriented perspective boils down to:
                     " You can't handle the truth! "   

          Well, if you must put it that way:  Naturally.  Wasn't it Foucault who said that Power (by one definition among a few) is what says "NO".  We can proceed with a debate that assumes that is the only important thing.  If we assume that is the most important perspective, then anyone who wishes to accomplish anything must first deny all other agendas.  The true leader must disclaim any trace of competing influences whatsoever.  The conservative view adopts this sort of logic.  It seeks to means control information for everyone else but the vanguard. 

        That is to say, all the other people who one feels are not sufficiently virtuous enough to know what's happening out there.  For "virtuous," now substitute your choice of virtue:  Who should be in the know?  Should it be the richest, the most well-armed, the career technocrats and intel people, the nationalists wishing to shake off the global economy, the socialists, the reformers and idealists with another vision perhaps...?  To the extent we agree “to draw the line somewhere,” this is the old power struggle we're playing.  Whatever leadership we privilege in our choice, we can go on arguing that faction is the only one who should legitimately restrict (and often, distort) information about the world from a position of advantage.

         I know this may feel rather abstract to some readers…  More on Zimbabwe in a bit.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2011, 09:57:07 AM by kylie »

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #97 on: January 04, 2011, 10:12:15 AM »
Well there is more. The major rival of  Mugabe, the incumbent who has killed many to stay in office, is outed. Then there is evidence of Mugabe's wife being involved in diamond smuggling as well (she of course denies it).

I get depressed on how little is actually being said on issues in Africa. Check out a Belgium documentary called Darwin's Nightmare.

Thing is I'm wondering why there is little commentary in the news and online in the US, aside from political Blogs on both sides of the spectrum, and asked about that.

Side note: I recall issues with Zimbawe for years and years, but like some areas in Asia, it's never been 'economically significant' and thus doesn't get noticed loudly by the media.

Offline kylie

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Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #98 on: January 04, 2011, 10:46:11 AM »
          Well, Callie you've mentioned some of it but I wanted to look too.  First, a few references...    Cable regarding Tsvingari's discussion of sanctions.  Dec. 8 release.  I presume that is the specific one featured in the column in [grr, not OP] Callie's reference.  The column simultaneously cites the cable to attack Assange, and yet does not link to the cable.  (It's red: Do you think if you click it, your credit rating goes down?)  I find that sloppy/unusual and disturbing, but moving forward...    Some news sites from Africa and South Asia were reporting on it at least since mid-December (that's just the earliest I saw, at a very brief Google search).  On Dec. 31: An opinion piece in Wall St Journal. -- This goes in a pretty similar direction to the column.  Perhaps with a little finer grain...    Apparently after the story broke...  Wikileaks supporters (at least reportedly so)/ hackers from a group called "Anonymous" began targeting Mugabe websites for attack.  Possibly a demonstration that they are after any corrupt power, and not only the US government as some claimed? 

         Now on the column:  Disregarding huge hyperbole in its last paragraph, the column alleges that Wikileaks has harmed US interests by providing Mugabe with an excuse to prosecute Tsvangirai for treason.  There are certain built-in assumptions. 

     1)   Regime change is what "The Doctor" (I guess that would be Dr. Sam) prescribes for Zimbabwe. 
     2)   Tsvangirai is a reasonably good partner in achieving that.
     3)   Mugabe is only able to touch Tsvangirai because of the leaked cable.
     4)   Pursuing regime change through the agency of Tsvangirai is the overriding goal.  The resulting damage to that relationship and to this case in the short term, should not be excused by any other concerns.   
           >>> For example:  No one should argue that the posting by Wikileaks has overriding benefits for any of the following:  The absolute welfare of Zimbabwe (however one measures that); international relations in general, readers' ability to comprehend Zimbabwe or international relations in general; accountability of the US government, various Zimbabwe factions and others (to the extent that broader publics are actually paying attention); and freedom of the press (just in case I missed part of it).     

          I'm hardly familiar with Zimbabwe, but it seems like there is some general agreement on #1.  I'll let them have that one for now...  On #2:  Another cable has also shown that although the US appears to have thrown in its hand with Tsvangirai out of a certain pragmatic calculation, State apparently regards him as far from an ideal associate.  "A flawed character" is the line that news organizations have eaten up from that cable.  So there is a certain amount of doubt perhaps.  The BBC posted an article with mentions of Tsvangirai's track record...  Typical jumble in African politics, you might say...  Without questioning yet however we (the West/ "international community" of recent years) may have contributed to that situation...  I'll let this one slide also.

        On #3, I'm skeptical. Again, it seems to me that people in these situations know who their opposition is.  If they have any real means, they find a way to take a crack at them.  Mugabe has been taking shots at Tsvangirai well before Wikileaks came along.  Kirchick's article mentions that in 2009, the regime was suspected of orchestrating a car crash.  The question then becomes, is the cable release going to change that?  Say if you like that in principle, that is one question we shouldn't have to face anyway.  However, I think that in most situations where the question arises, it is not going to be a game changer.  The first cable mentions that sanctions would be aimed at a small group of elites, not the general populace.  Those elites are probably already in a position to realize that if sanctions were removed, they stand to profit.  They know the opposition imagines the effect of the sanctions too.   

          I'm inclined to think that if Tsvingari has a measure of safety, then he has decent security personnel, some popular support, or both.  Whether honestly or as a political maneuver, Tsvangirai himself is not so much denying the story (which I think you’d rather expect in the American politics of flag pins or else.  No Muslims on screen – we’re campaigning!).  Instead, he’s saying effectively (through spokesman): so what if I did.  The people are behind me.  I have a mandate, and I’m going to pursue it however I can!  You want to talk “treason”?  Okay then, first go after the general trying to shut down elections on the other side.  Tsvangirai is also saying that Wikileaks is to credit for sharing another cable – (or at least one) that raises Mugabe and family involvement with blood diamonds.         

          On point #4:  The significance of the cable release depends entirely on your view of world politics at a broader level.  There, I tend to agree with Kate's somewhat extensive arguments above.  The emphasis on support for a particular faction and regime change “on our watch” or whatever the short term may be, strikes me as a narrow excuse for secrecy here.  Do we know Zimbabwe well enough to argue about whether US economic manipulation is good for its politics historically, let alone US backing for particular factions?  Can we really argue with a clear conscience that the world economy as the West installed it has been good for Zimbabwe, or for many African populations?   Might we imagine something else?  A different kind of aid policy?  A hands-off policy?  The complaint against Wikileaks is that it has cost the US some relative leverage over the direction of politics in Zimbabwe.  While we’re focusing on that, we are not talking about the overall situation of Africa, the global South, or even the US.  We’re out policing, but most of the news is about the evil dictators.  (Hmm, at least WMD must be out of style.)  When it comes to Africa especially: Very little is said about the dealings and manipulations of the cops and fair weather friends.  Apart from these alternative sources...
« Last Edit: January 04, 2011, 12:44:36 PM by kylie »

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: WikiLeaks: Terrorists or Champions of the Truth?
« Reply #99 on: January 04, 2011, 11:10:30 AM »
Here's a question that keeps coming up in the political blogs.

Does the release of the cable involving him (Tsvingari) count as collateral murder or not? I've commented that the rampant release of these documents would endanger people who were working with the US and it's allies as well as damage the trust needed to conduct diplomacy.

On one hand, Mugabe has (and most likely would have again) charged Tsvingari with treason (along with a lot of his other rivals). Tsvingari is man, feet of clay and all, BUT Mugabe has spent the last 30 years staying in power. Several rivals died in 'car crashes' and it is interesting that Tsvingari was Prime Minster for ONE month when he and his wife were hit in a car accident.  (Tsvingari's wife died in the crash).

Mugabe has and will continue to do whatever it takes to stay in power.

My question is, is this an example of Wikileaks' release of cables putting someone in peril or not?

It walks the line and I'm not too sure as yet.