While I was offline for a month, I kept a note of any links and news stories worth commenting on. Now that I’m back, I’m aiming to post two short items a day here, about stuff that happened during my online absence, until I’ve cleared the backlog. This is one of those.
Ah, the occasionally entertaining saga of the wiki-wiki-waa-waa-leaks.
(It occurred to me while redrafting this that that reference might be lost on a lot of young people today. Which makes me feel old. I’m still in my mid-twenties for eight more days, dammit.)
Other people have said it better than I’m likely to, so here are some articles you should read.
I am conflicted about the right balance between the visibility required for counter-democracy and the need for private speech among international actors. Here’s what I’m not conflicted about: When authorities can’t get what they want by working within the law, the right answer is not to work outside the law. The right answer is that they can’t get what they want.
– With all the talk about bitchy things that international diplomats have said about other international diplomats, I’ve heard a lot of times that the Wikileaks documents don’t really tell us anything we didn’t basically already know. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention when we all previously figured out that American mercenary groups, contracted by the government, have been acquiring underage sex slaves for Afghani officials.
– Ed Brayton also alerted me to this Glenn Greenwald article, which is pretty much kick-ass in its entirety.
Those who demand that the U.S. Government take people’s lives with no oversight or due process… are just morally deranged barbarians. There’s just no other accurate way to put it. These are usually the same people, of course, who brand themselves “pro-life” and Crusaders for the Sanctity of Human Life and/or who deride Islamic extremists for their disregard for human life. And the fact that this mindset is so widespread and mainstream is quite a reflection of how degraded America’s political culture is. When WikiLeaks critics devote a fraction of their rage to this form of mainstream American thinking – which, unlike anything WikiLeaks has done, has actually resulted in piles upon piles of corpses – then their anti-WikiLeaks protestations should be taken more seriously, but not until then.
– David Allen Green provides an important reminder, regarding a side of the issue treated too casually by some of Assange’s supporters in the face of his “trumped-up” criminal charges. Due process still exists for a reason. And go easy on the possible rape victims, guys.
– Heresy Corner has a few thoughts on the matter, and, as is often the case, they’re thoughts more worth having than most of yours or mine:
There is a perfectly tenable position between on the one hand demanding that Assange “face justice” and on the other downplaying the wrongness of his behaviour or belittling the women involved. It should be possible to denounce him as a probable arsehole while affirming that the criminal law is an inappropriate vehicle for tackling his offensive behaviour.
– And then, as something of an antidote to all the sensibly considered, deeply reasoned thoughts that have been expressed on this complex issue from numerous directions, there’s Richard Littlejohn. Who has so little clue about anything that’s going on, and so little apparent inclination to bother finding out, that he (I presume inadvertently) libels Julian Assange in the second sentence of his article. “Hacking into American government computers” is a serious crime and an entirely unfounded allegation. Not that Littlejohn would care. His article’s still up, bullshit intact, as I write this.
I think that sums everything up close to adequately.