Hypocrisy, Secrets and the News by: V.Lyn
The alleged hacker and supplier of the documents, videos and files on the war in Iraq and the current documents on foreign relations, 23 yr. old former intelligence officer PFC Manning says he was confronted with the information that awful things were happening in the midst of a war and he asks what would you do?
“Hypothetical question: if you had free reign over classified networks for long periods of time… say, 8-9 months… and you saw incredible things, awful things… things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC… what would you do?,” Manning wrote to Adrian Lamo a hacker who ultimately turned Manning in, and according to the recorded chats they shared and which Lamo turned over to wired.com.
The answer to the question he posed I would have to honestly say …I don’t know…Do I trust my government enough to not do wrongful acts…well hell no..I know they do them all the time…From the atrocities of slavery, virtual annihilation of the American Indian, Jim Crow, continued enslavement of black via the revised penal code until 1956, internment of Japanese Americans, McCarthyism, syphilis experiments, LSD experiments on prisoners who were predominantly black, segregation, Reagan, Bush for not one but two terms, Iraq war..(I agree with the war in Afghanistan) and electing Republicans into the house. Well hell no. I do not trust our government to always do the right thing. But I also KNOW that I am not prepared to make judgments in what will put our men, women, allies, and relations with our allies in danger for years to come, especially in such critical times.
Now my indecision lies firmly with the Iraq war documents…The information concerning foreign affairs practices I feel should not have come to light. Perhaps this is hypocrisy, doubt, and or double standards? But at least I admit it!
Unlike me, the founder of Wikileaks the 39 year-old Australian hacker, Julian Assange seems quite sure in the rightfulness of his and his organizations act. Julian Assange views Wikileaks as “the intelligence agency of the people” . Assange say’s he is exposing the lies and the corruption of the politics that goes on behind closed doors. In the same breath he says his intent is not to put the American soldiers or diplomatic relations in jeopardy. Whether he” intends” to jeopardize foreign relations, put troops and Americans in America lives in harm way the fact is he is!!!
I believe in openness… well most of the time. I believe in clarity…IN MOST ISSUES…Some people will say shouldn’t we, the American citizens, know who are our allies? The question I would say is knowing as opposed to suspecting that Pakistan is not being as cooperative as we had hoped, what are you as an American citizen in the position to change or do? The fact is the release of sensitive and less than sensitive information does make the oh so subtle art of diplomatic relations far more difficult going forward.
Sometime the inner workings, the back door handshakes, pats on the back, snubs and private let’s chat at the bar conversations should be private at least for a time. Not always not for ever but during a critical time of national security in my opinion it should.
Diplomacy as in any negotiation is based on knowledge your knowledge of your opponent, adversary or customer you are trying to sell that car to. The belief that you have the upper hand and a modicum of trust all while maintaining the knowledge that the other will always seek to obtain a better deal is paramount to achieving your goal, it’s like having the proverbial cards under the table. The most innocuous comment misconstrued or the perception that you are ridiculing or mocking your opponent can halt negotiations immediately sending people back to their respective corners. While I know little about diplomacy I do know about sales and the commonality that the two share is that they are both about the sale… feature and benefit…
What the release of these documents does is hold foreign dignitaries up for ridicule even if the comments were not meant to be that way…These leaders now feel obligated to puff their chest out, to save face in the world community but more importantly to those at home. Can anyone say Saddam Husain, and can anyone remember his bluster pretending to have a cache of weapons even though everyone including the Bush Administration knew that he had none… (That is an old topic and one that Bushophiles will continue to deny). All because he needed to save face in the world community, with the Iraqi people, in his region and to show IRAN and America that he was not vulnerable, with neither claws nor teeth.
What the release of these documents says is that American foreign diplomats hold their foreign counterparts with disdain.
Imagine fiery curmudgeon Uncle Bert is coming over for holiday dinner being held on the northern side. Everyone wants to and has been warned to get along with Uncle Bert. He is after all the head of the estranged family on the southern side who your family has feuded with for the last 10 years.
The southern family arrives chest out huffing and puffing. Tension wafts thru the air, everyone is on edge, but after a few hours of smiles getting to know one another fake smiles, hugs, exchange of family info, “Oh how big you have gotten Suzie how old are you now?” “I hear you are going to college cousin Andy.” etcetera, etcetera. And the tension begins to lessen, not go away but there is an understanding in the air…an unvoiced agreement between Uncle Bert of the Southern clan and Uncle Mike of the Northern clan, I don’t like you and you don’t like me but for the benefit of our family let’s try and get along! I know you will always try and get the upper hand as you understand I will do the same but for NOW let’s try and have a working relation because COUSIN Melissa and her brood from the East clan is the craziest head of household of us all and she has a bazooka that she is willing to use.” Get my drift here. And things seem to be going as well as could be hoped for when little cousin Katy on the northern side decides show Uncle Bert and his wary clan what she has been working on for a school project. Darting upstairs and then back down, pigtail flapping, cheeks red with running excitement and pride she presents her little pink bound journal to Uncle Bert her NEW BEST FRIEND.
“Oh thank you Katy I’d love to look at your journal.”
Uncle Mike and his wife exchange glances, eyes communicating unspoken confusion, neither know anything about this journal.
In that little pink journal is the family history and Katy unknowingly is about to set off a powder keg. In that book is every funny, nasty observation made by her family about the Southern clan. Well you can imagine after reading the 1/3 of the way through the book, all hell breaks loose. Katy has begun family clan wars number 3. It doesn’t matter that it is not what she intended it does however matter that whatever relationship they may have been able to achieve are lost, perhaps for good.
Some may say her parents should have known what little Katy was scribbling in her little book, should have monitored her better…perhaps should have grabbed that lil ol’ journal right out of her hand before she had an opportunity to give to fiery curmudgeon Uncle Bert!!!! And maybe all of that is true.
But Julien Assange is not a little girl, and the Bert and Mike feuding clans are not Pakistan and the United States, Nuclear Powers, who are wary “allies’ in volatile regions and areas of conflict and Julien unlike lil cousin Katy, should know the ramifications of his actions.
The papers also tells which foreign leaders have been talking to whom, dining with whom, dates, times and the wheres…and in volatile regions, in talks about sensitive issues, who is eating or “sleeping” with whom can have deadly consequences, it is often this type of seemingly harmless information that is needed in assassinations . This is a far more troublesome scenario than the gaffes made by low level and even high level foreign officials. This kind of information can result in the loss of lives, or the exploitation by terrorist.
The information being released is not as innocuous as we would like to pretend to believe in order to satisfy our prurient appetite.
Now the news organization will say that they too are releasing the documents after much consideration and are omitting what they consider is sensitive information again in all negotiations, any tidbit of information “they” determine is sensitive. Just as when you sit down with a car sales rep the more info you have the better off you are, and even the merest seemingly harmless disclosure can put that negotiation in jeopardy. When you tell that car salesperson you are leaving to go and talk with that other dealer down the block who had the same car at a lower price and lil ol cousin Katy pipes up with “NO daddy remember that car was 500 dollars more.” You roll your eyes heaven ward, head dropping to chest and the sales rep breaks into a huge smile and extends his or her hand forward “I guess we have a deal Mike.” Negotiations are a matter of finesse’ the stroking of egos, the holding of cards and secrets and or information and the knowledge of when to use them. It is understanding the person you sit across from, what he or she likes and detest, it is gleaning as many secrets about that person as possible and then sometimes mirroring that behavior, it is the telling of small lies and sometimes overlooking aspects of that person that you find contemptuous all to achieve what you want or need in the end. News Organizations know this as they do it every day to get the news they need or during other necessarily secret corporate dealings.
What I find most disturbing is Assange “seemingly” sanctimonious sureness that he is making the right choices,: I wonder if his decision to release this and previous information keeps him up at night, as I am sure there were a few intelligence agents, informants, soldiers and now foreign diplomats and world leaders who spent a few sleepless nights.
On the Other hand
Being a Joe Public, there are quite a few documents that I would like to see exposed…..And Assange for better or worse seems determined to expose what others want to keep in darkness!