Wikileaks et al. - The Free Flow of Information
Wikileaks vs Western hypocrisy
Preface . Once upon a time they used to say that only God knew what went on behind closed doors. Today only those who run the surveillance equipment know. May the free flow of information allow us all to know.
Objective journalism is a fallacy. The expression is a trite way of saying journalism is scientific, which is nonsense. All reporting is subjective. If a journalist is doing his or her job properly, then the individual is obligated to report the event in as clear a fashion as possible as deduced from one's personal understanding of the event. And a journalist has one of two options. The person can either lie through his or her teeth or try to report the event as honestly as possible.
Unfortunately, most mainstream journalism has been, and sadly is, political and commercial propaganda / spam. The New York Time's slogan used to be, 'All the news that's fit to print.' Now it reads, 'All the news the White House tells us we can print.' The truth will never be untimely for the majority. But it will always be uncomfortable for the minority.
As we review the politicians, journalists and pundits who have cried for Wikileaks' demise, or re-dimensioning of importance, the following statement comes to mind : 'I've been made to feel inadequate my whole life by someone who turns out to be a total hypocrite.'
The blood's on Western society's hands, not Wikileaks'
No one can prove Wikileaks has been responsible for the murder or death of anyone, anywhere as a result of the release of documents. Any accusation would simply be a conjecture. Ironically, support for this opinion comes from a statement Sarah Palin made following the Arizona shooting of 8 January 2011. Palin said, "... journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn."
Western voices, though, seem to claim Wikileaks is responsible for all sorts of atrocities. Sarah Palin, apparently not realizing she would later come under a similar personal attack, trumpeted, "He [ Julian Assange ] is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands." U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated, "There is nothing laudable about endangering innocent people ..." And NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said, "Leaks may put soldiers as well as civilians at risk ..."
However the truth is quite evident. As a cause-effect result of the Western coalition's invasion of Iraq, verifiable Iraqi civilian deaths in 2010 alone were 4,036. "... as long as this conflict continues, its death toll can only rise with each passing year and so, too, the pain and grief associated with it" [ Iraq Body Count ].
Total coalition forces deaths since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom [ sic ] and Operation Enduring Freedom / Afghanistan [ sic ] are calculated to be 7,113. An estimated 32,033 U.S. troops have been wounded just in Iraq, of which 20 percent are stated to suffer serious brain or spinal injuries [ Iraq War Facts to 30 January 2011 ]. "Iraq vets come home physically, mentally butchered" [ Inter Press Service, 2007 ].
There's been a lot of controversy over Wikileaks' release of Collateral Murder. Some have suggested the men accompanying the two Reuters reporters were armed. But in the U.S., where the National Rifle Association estimates "there are well over 250 million privately-owned firearms ...", states like Sarah Palin's Alaska allow citizens to carry firearms either openly or concealed without a license. Even Starbucks allows its customers to carry firearms openly in its chain stores when it's considered legal by the state where the chain store operates. That's democracy. Exactly what the U.S. wants to bring to Iraq - Operation Iraqi Freedom. So where's the problem with Iraqis carrying firearms?
I don't know what the daily death rate in Alaska is, but in Iraq it was more than 100 people a day in 2010. Maybe if we stretch our imaginations, we could understand why someone in Iraq would want to walk around armed.
Another point in favor of bearing arms in Iraq is that it's estimated 250,000 'private security contractors' are working in the country. On 16 September 2007, Blackwater military contractors shot and killed 17 unarmed Iraqi civilians in Nisour Square, Baghdad. Neither the Blackwater employees who killed the Iraqis in Baghdad nor the military personnel responsible for the killing of Iraqis in the Collateral Murder video were convicted of murder. My impression is that the price Iraq has to pay for the brand of democracy the U.S. is bringing to the world is probably too expensive for Iraq to bear.
According to Threat Level, Bradley Manning, accused of leaking the Collateral Murder video to Wikileaks, stated there's a second video "which shows a May 2009 air strike near Garani village in Afghanistan that the local government says killed nearly 100 civilians, most of them children."
NATO airstrikes killed at least 65 Afghan civilians, including 40 children, in a remote mountainous area of eastern Afghanistan in February 2011.
And on 1 March 2011 nine Afghan boys who were collecting firewood were murdered by NATO helicopter fire. Gen. David H. Petraeu, current Commander of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A), released a declaration saying he was "... deeply sorry for this tragedy and apologize to the members of the Afghan government, the people of Afghanistan and most importantly, the surviving family members of those killed by our actions."
Could you imagine the furor the U.S. and its allies would invoke if just one person were suspected to have died as a result of Wikileaks' release of documents? But of course, all Julian Assange would have to say to placate public disdain is : "I'm deeply sorry for this tragedy and apologize to the surviving family members of those killed by our actions." And the world would be right again, wouldn't it?
It's easier to prove mainstream journalists are part of a CIA psyops program than it is to demonstrate Wikileaks is CIA controlled
An excellent source documenting CIA involvement in journalism can be found here, Source Watch. This is an excerpt from Source Watch's research:
From Subverting the Media by David Guyatt:
"In an October 1977, article published by Rolling Stone magazine [ The CIA and the Media ], Carl Bernstein reported that more than 400 American journalists worked for the CIA. Bernstein went on to reveal that this cozy arrangement had covered the preceding 25 years. Sources told Bernstein that the New York Times, America's most respected newspaper at the time, was one of the CIA's closest media collaborators. Seeking to spread the blame, the New York Times published an article in December 1977, revealing that 'more than eight hundred news and public information organisations and individuals,' had participated in the CIA's covert subversion of the media.
"As these stories hit the news, Senate investigators began to probe the CIA sponsored manipulation of the media - the 'Fourth Estate' that supposedly was dedicated to acting as a check and balance on the excesses of the executive. This investigation was, however, curtailed at the insistence of Central Intelligence Agency Directors, William Colby and George H.W. Bush - who would later be elected US President. The information gathered by the Senate Select Intelligence Committee chaired by Senator Frank Church, was 'deliberately buried' Bernstein reported.
"Slowly, the role of Mockingbird in muzzling and manipulating the press began to be revealed. In 1974, two former CIA agents, Victor Marchetti and John D. Marks, published a sensational book entitled The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence."
The number of sources citing the CIA's cooping of mainstream journalism into its covert operations is endless. You can also look here, CIA press, for a dated review on the subject.
Today the government doesn't have to infiltrate mainstream journalism. The government simply embeds journalists into their operations.
On sources of funding and how Wikileaks is a cash cow, but for others
A number of people have discussed the issue that Wikileaks had been interested in raising five million dollars. This has created a stir among some and lead to accusations Wikileaks was backed by the CIA or Soros [ see Media Spam ]. Paradoxically, few raised red flags when Human Rights Watch received $100 million from Soros and his Open Society Foundation in September 2010.
Associating with Wikileaks can be profitable, or at least professionally notable. The New York Times has published a book, Open Secrets: WikiLeaks, War and American Diplomacy. The Guardian newspaper published WIKILEAKS: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy. The rights to the Guardian book were bought for a future film by Steven Spielberg's Dreamworks. An ex-associate at Wikileaks, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, wrote a book, Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website. He also apparently took with him files from Wikileaks and has now opened his own organization called Open Leaks.
Julian Assange is writing a book, too. Some suggest Assange, though, will be spending his money from the book on legal fees.
Secret cables were not very secret
How secret can secret be if more than three million people had access to the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (Siprnet) where the diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks supposedly came from. The Guardian wrote :
"... a diplomatic dispatch marked Sipdis is automatically downloaded on to its embassy's classified website. From there it can be accessed not only by anyone in the state department, but also by anyone in the US military who has a computer connected to Siprnet. Millions of US soldiers and officials have 'secret' security clearance. The US general accounting office identified 3,067,000 people cleared to 'secret' and above in a 1993 study. Since then, the size of the security establishment has grown appreciably. Another GAO report in May 2009 said: 'Following the terrorist attacks on September 11 2001 the nation's defence and intelligence needs grew, prompting increased demand for personnel with security clearances.' A state department spokesman ... refused to say exactly how many people had access to Siprnet."
It should also be stated that the documents Wikileaks released were anything but secret. Wikileaks lists the level of classification for those documents released. If we want to say any document the government handles is to be considered a secret to be hidden from the public, then I guess the documents are secret. If instead we wish to discriminate between what is classified as secret and what is not, then only six percent of the documents released were classified secret.
I would suggest human beings around the world should be asking themselves whether a video such as Collateral Murder should be considered a secret. According to me, the public not only has the right to know how their fellow human beings are being murder indiscriminately in distant lands but should be deeply troubled by such events.
A fitting poem to conclude with by Bonita M Quesinberry
Some people are hard and cold,
their souls to the devil sold;
kind words never spoken,
their friendship merely a token:
sincerity they lack,
and you never turn your back.
With all they play a game:
you fool, they aren't the same.
They remain a hypocrite,
full of jealousy, ready to spit.
Their venom will poison you:
making you one, too.
So, don't listen, don't look:
observe, they're like an open book;
their sins written on their face.
For them there is a place.
Just turn and walk away,
listen not to what they say.