In a blow to U.S. hegemony and belligerence, WikiLeaks has released 91,000 documents on the Afghanistan conflict.
The Afghan War Diary is massive, containing detailed day-to-day events. The White House is livid of course, calling this exposure “irresponsible” and is in full-retreat, coverup and scramble mode.
The reason is obvious — we’ve been repeatedly lied to, again and again and again. Support for our intervention is lagging and this exposure reveal the duplicious nature of US Government “policy”, and that of Pakistan.
Julian Assange claims that these documents “show the true nature of war“. Assange has been the targeted of a global smear campaign, including the target of Steve Aftergood, head of the project on government secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS.org) — and organization and effort that many have now come to highly question.
Aftergood claimed “In fact, WikiLeaks must be counted among the enemies of open society because it does not respect the rule of law nor does it honor the rights of individuals.”
Unbeknown to all of you, I posted on this article in June as “Reader”.
June 28th, 2010 at 1:19 pm
I could not agree with you less. It is plainly evident that a attack on Wikileaks is well underway by many agencies, there has been quite a bit of news on this topic lately.
To see you join into this fray is dismaying at best, and somewhat revealing on your own openness.
Wikileaks does not have to fit your assumptions on what you think it should and should not publish. It makes no difference if they are secret rites or rituals or undisclosed government documents.
This side-handed character attack is beneath you, or so I once thought.
The allegations you make are based on conjecture “” example was your comment about not receiving funding from the Knight Foundation. There could be any number of reasons Wikileaks was not selected, but your conjecture was inappropriate, unnecessary and somewhat revealing of your own bias.
And frankly, it’s not really important or even relevant to the real issue here “” which is just as much about you as it is Wikileaks.
What EXACTLY then is your own agenda is this debacle?
Your own position is dead clear, in your own words: “In fact, WikiLeaks must be counted among the enemies of open society because it does not respect the rule of law nor does it honor the rights of individuals.”
That remark is the stupidest thing I think I have ever read here.
Enemies? Since you chose this word yourself, what the hell does that make you?
The rule of law is a sick joke “” which any honest person acknowledges, and the very reason sites like this exist. If the rule of law was in point of fact in effect and actually working, this very site would not need to be here. But here you are “” and here is Wikileaks, trying to overturn the corruption and secrecy (and violations of law).
The rights of individuals you alleged is a straw argument altogether, which you should have immediately realize before uttering this nonsense. You are trying to cloak the issue while sounding self-righteous and ethical yourself, but all you’ve managed to do here is point a finger for some bizarre and unknown reason. Maybe you aren’t the open and honest source you allege yourself to be.
Shame on you for this entire essay. You’ve only revealed yourself uncommitted to open information sharing, biased and quite possibly, not working for the good intention of the people you allege you serve.
Which leaves all your readers with this question: Who exactly are you serving here?
From that point on in the comments, it was a dogpile, as commentator after commentator rejected Aftergood’s insane comments.
Mike001 Says: The “Reader” whose comment began with “I could not agree with you less” pretty much hits the nail on the head with his/her assessment of this article. The absurdity of this article knows no bounds and I, too, question your motives Mr. Aftergood.
Assange himself sought to answer Aftergood’s claim (several times), but Aftergood would have none of it.
I posted my absolute disgust once more:
July 1st, 2010 at 2:14 pm
Apparently, some of you, or most of you, have no idea what it is actually like (in real life, beyond the keyboard) to try and expose wrong doing.
My comments above towards Aftergood and his ridiculous essay on Wikileaks were based on personal experience with deep corruption and the inability of government(s) to react with openness, honesty and the necessary transparency to all parties involved when clear abuses were documented and real lives were endangered (this is the same Reader commentator that first disagreed with Aftergood).
I am not affiliated with Wikileaks and barely understand what it is that they do. However, personal experience in these matters revealed to me that Aftergood’s little tirade against Wikileaks was entirely without merit, and even more importantly, based upon some rather blatant false assumptions.
Aftergood alleges that the rule of law should apply to any individual, organization or entity that expresses itself. This is a faulty argument, because the law in many, many cases does not protect you; does not assist you; does not defend you; and can be just as easily manipulated by your opponents who are demonstrably without morals or restraints. To say that they will even kill you to shut you up is no stretch of the imagination at all.
Who then will submit himself to “law” or “rules” under these rather onerous conditions? Self-preservation is paramount in many instances. Perhaps that makes me a coward, but I was not alone “” my family was just as threatened as I and their lives were deemed even more important then my own.
I went to the authorities, once believing that I was doing the right thing and that my own role in all of this was unquestionably right. In my now-dead-naivete, I thought that these “protectors” of truth, law and justice would help me and resolve the situation, only to find out that not only did they not help, they swiftly turned against me, because I has naively uncovered one of their own in wrong-doing.
It is patently absurd to believe in the practice of the rule of law when the law does not in fact apply, or can be so capricious that it may as well not exist. Government create laws so that they can literally get away with murder without objection from the people they allege to serve, but just the opposite is now true.
You serve government at their behest and dictate “” and if you don’t, then you are their declared enemy. They even have a name for this now on the law books “” enemy combatant, a designation that can now be placed upon anybody, anywhere, for any reason.
Aftergood is asking us to support this ongoing atrocity and abomination of justice. I can’t do it anymore and neither can some of you.
Those of you that decry the “secretiveness” of Wikileaks are unlearned in the real world, where anonymity is the ONLY thing that actually protects you and your sources. You apparently believe in the illusion that you are safe in your identity and whereabouts and activities at all times. This cannot possibly be true in a society that targets individuals and organizations anytime that they are deemed a threat to the status quo.
Aftergood’s assassination attempt totally fails to acknowledge that whistleblower activities of any type are not governed by special pre-approved “rules” (especially ones deemed by him), that any such activity carries with it inherent risks to all parties involved, and that this activity itself is ungovernable anyway by anyone. In point of fact, no attempts should even be made to govern this.
That IS the price of an open society, so get used to it.
Or accept the consequences when you try and stop it. If that resulting society is preferable to you, then we are truly living on opposite ends of thought here. One of us is committed to an open society, the other is not. One of us is now the true enemy of the other, because one of us wrongly believes that you can control me, which can be rightly assumed, always to your advantage and not mine.
Which one will you be?
It does no good at all to attack such activities as Aftergood has, except to quench any further discourse and to shut down any would-be whistleblowers, some who have learned as I have “” do so at your own risk. To expect or even demand that these people “follow the rules” is patently absurd “” and damned dangerous for some.
Aftergood remains unrepentant and recalcitrant because he continues to wrongly believe that all should remain committed to the same illusions that rules and laws apply in all cases.
Aftergood expects that this cage of illusions is sufficient for all and in service to all, when this has never been the case in the real world, and it is only by challenging these established “norms” does society itself marginally improve.
Governments rely upon victims (real and imagined) as an effective tool to quench dissent. Aftergood is in effect, helping this process, which is quite bizarre when you think about it.
manuel piÃ±eiro was quite right ““ he missed a real opportunity here and created a giant chasm between himself and his readership.
The REAL question remains however ““ why engage in this line of attack?
Aftergood has not presented a reasonable explanation here.
Perhaps we should start with the most obvious then “” full financial disclosure of all sources of income and support.
This is usually the real reasons we find Judas in our midst.
I realize that this is a side-story to the WikiLeaks furor. Aftergood never did respond to my (anonymous) request for full financial disclosure — and I really did not expect him to. Neither did climate change “denier” (liar) Lord Monckton — liars never do.
I cannot comment further on this or the released documents, — but just remember, honest and transparency are NOT being practiced by those who would fuel the flames of war. Despite all the retrenchment you will read about in the coming days, weeks and months ahead, all the outrageous claims of how this will “hurt” us (them, let’s get this straight here and now) — they lie, repeatedly, often and without fail. T
They cannot be trusted. Period.
They’re going to spin-spin-spin this story, and cover it up, even redefine the very words to suit their own ends. Just you watch. This is a huge story of yet another failed policy of war and uncounted deaths and destruction that up until now, they’ve managed to keep pretty well hidden, even enlisting the likes of Aftergood to do their bidding.
The bottom line is they are going to defend the status-quo to the death, by whatever means possible, even if that means that they will kill you or send you off to Afghanistan to fight in yet another failed war.
I have no illusions at all that anything will change. Nothing will, nothing ever does.