Michael Collins: Chris Floyd Skewers Wikileaks

By Michael Collins

“So once again, and for the last time, we ask the question: How does this alter the prevailing conventional wisdom about the war?” Chris Floyd, Leaky Vessels: Wikileaks “Revelations” Will Comfort Warmongers, Confirm Conventional Wisdom, Empire Burlesque, July 26, 27

Wikileaks head honcho Julian Assange may be annoyed with the 911 Truth movement and all those conspiracy theories. But he may be appalled when he reads that one of the leading authors and researchers on imperialism and the Iraq war, Chris Floyd, has taken him to task for making much ado about nothing.

Floyd makes his case early on in the article, with maximum effect:

“Is there anything in these breathless new recitations that we did not already know? For example, the NYT offers a few short vignettes from the leaked documents concerning botched raids and errant missiles that slaughter civilians. But in almost every case, these have already been extensively reported — in the Times itself and other mainstream venues — in much greater detail, with quotes and evidence from the victims and local eyewitnesses, and not just the self-interested, ass-covering perspective of official occupation reports. And the “revelation” that occupation forces are killing “an amazing number of people” who have “never proven to be a threat” at checkpoints was confirmed months ago by no less than Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the erstwhile commander of the whole shebang.” Chris Floyd, July 26, 27

Floyd points out that regular readers of the three media outlets that received the leaks would know much of the material presented in the maze of documents touted as news. He makes a clear distinction between the Wikileaks data dump and previous national security leaks:

“These are not the Pentagon Papers or the Downing Street Memos; they do almost nothing to alter the public image of the war, and tell almost nothing that we don’t already know.” Floyd

Wikileaks quotes a US embassy cable from Kabul claiming that Iran is a key player in the Afghanistan opposition. Floyd’s response shows the bias of the leaked material:

“Wow, that’s heavy stuff, man. An apparatchik in the US embassy says that the political opposition to America’s man in Kabul is just Iranian puppetry. Obviously, those Afghan ragheads couldn’t possibly put together an opposition by themselves. (It’s just like that Civil Rights stuff back in the day; it was all a Communist front. You know our docile darkies would never have tried to get above their raising if the Commies hadn’t stirred them up.)” Floyd

After a comprehensive summary of the not-so-newness of the material release, Floyd concludes his devastating indictment with this judgment:

“I believe they will supply plenty of ammunition to those bent on further murder and plunder.” Floyd

Some questions

Question: How do we know that the Wikileaks material is the only material being used by the New York Times?

George Friedman of Stratfor made an interesting point in his analysis of the Wikileaks materials:

“The Times reports that (former Pakistani intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Hamid) Gul’s name appears all over the documents, yet very few documents have been released in the current batch, and it is very hard to imagine intelligence on Gul and his organization, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate, being classified as only secret. So, this was either low-grade material hyped by the media, or there is material reviewed by the selected newspapers but not yet made public. Still, what was released and what the Times discussed is consistent with what most thought was happening in Afghanistan.” George Friedman, Stratfor Global Intelligence, July 27

Friedman’s points are of real interest. Was the government so careless as to mention a critical U.S. intelligence contact, Gul, in secret, as opposed to top secret communication? If that’s not the case, how did material that would presumably be classified as top secret end up in the Wikileaks documents, which were supposedly classified secret?

Is the Times inserting other material from unspecified sources in the Wikileaks commentary?

Does the Times have yet another of its political agendas embedded in the handling of the leaks?

Who is watching the leakers?

Question: Why did Wikileaks choose the New York Times, of all papers, as the news and editorial source for the U.S. audience?

The Time is, after all, the newspaper that brought us Judith Miller’s fantasies about weapons of mass destruction and withheld the illegal wiretapping story until well after the 2004 election. That made “the paper of record” complicit in the effort to lie us into an illegal Iraq invasion and perpetuate the Iraq occupation and war. By withholding the illegal wiretapping story until December 16, 2005, the hugely negative impact of Bush illegal wiretapping was assured to have no influence on the election. This helped Bush and Cheney to four more years to inflict their pain on the country and the world.

Question: Why did Wikileaks’ Julian Assange make this gratuitous remark on July 19?

“I’m constantly annoyed that people are distracted by false conspiracies such as 9/11, when all around we provide evidence of real conspiracies, for war or mass financial fraud.” Julian Assange, July 19
Isn’t Assange aware that the House and Senate Intelligence Committees routinely go after 911 Truth and that the mainstream media is never far behind? Why is he piling on? Which conspiracy theories is he talking about? How does he know that any one of them is false? Has Assange read the entire body of evidence based research and theories on 9/11(or any of it)? Finally, why does Assange have such contempt for the consistently high percentage of U.S. citizens, particularly in New York City, who voice serious doubts about the truth of the 9/11 Commission and other pronouncements by the bipartisan rulers who do their best to make sure that nothing leaks out or gets investigated regarding 9/11?

Chris Floyd’s analysis of the latest Wikileaks production is required reading for those interested in navigating The Matrix of modern media manipulation.

Also see: Wikileaks’ Julian Assange and Conspiracy Theories


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27 Replies to “Michael Collins: Chris Floyd Skewers Wikileaks”

  1. But I couldn’t resist a quick prop for Chris Floyd’s fine article on Wikileaks. It’s well worth the read. George Friedman’s article, also cited, is a further elaboration of the significance of the Wikileaks release.

    I’ve written about Wikileaks three times, including live coverage of their press conference in DC on the Iraq war video. My assessment of the organization has evolved over time. With their choice of the New York Times as the repository and editor of record in the U.S. for their latest leaks, it’s time to consider Wikileaks a member of the corporate media. For some time, they’ve received donations from corporate media to fight their legal battles, something that the group fully discloses. Giving the Times the inside track steps over the line.

  2. …an intelligence “contact” – he’s strongly suspected as being a key leadership personality among the oppo. IIRC there was some talk about 18 months or so about formally designating him as a terrorist.

    “The absence of any US-Iran bilateral channel…may have the perverse effect of reinforcing Iranian interest in progressing in the nuclear realm so that the US will be forced to take it seriously and engage it directly.” ~ Richard Haass

  3. The thing is these docs are a layer of military data, the stuff about Gul and Iran has so far not really gotten anywhere…. It’s just the kind of thing that jokers would feed the US and joke about it later. Plus what is new about Iran influencing Afghanistan? Not in a pro-Pashtun way tho.

    The Alex Jones segments with John Young- Cryptome.org & Wayne Madsen are interesting in that Wikileaks could be used as an agent of the Soros crew (Open Society Institute etc) and also puts up too much braggadocio about protecting its sources.

    Young posts all this stuff from disgruntled insiders and overall wikileaks has pretty bad keeping of its finances, which has blocked more extensive financial support.

    The thing here is the military was hearing what they wanted to hear on these reports — and what people knew what they were paying money for. Duly reported and not highly classified.

    This is more about the way that paying informants & such encourages the spinning of yarns in the fanciful, self sustaining and profitable imaginations of authoritarians.


  4. “Secret” is second from the bottom of the security latter with “Confidential” being lowest. These docs do not require a “Need to Know”. Thousands of people could read these. There is not going to be anything of much importance in these docs unless someone is not doing their job or something got missed.

  5. Where ever there’s trouble, he shows up.

    Hamid Gul served as the director general of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence during 1987-89, mainly in the time when Benazir Bhutto was Prime Minister of Pakistan. He was instrumental in the anti-Soviet support of the mujahideen in the Afghanistan War of 1979–89,[1] a pivotal time during the Cold War, and in establishing the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad, a right-wing political party against the Pakistan Peoples Party [the current ruling party]. He also was a vehement supporter of the Kashmir insurgency against India,[2] and is accused by the United States of having ties to al-Qaeda and the Taliban. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamid_Gul

    Here he is on CNN. Provocative, to say the least.

  6. George Soros is like some sort of Forest Gump character that saw the Wizard and got a brain. The “color” revolutions are certainly a big flop as of right now.

    Hopefully, there will be a more critical reception of this material in the future. It’s like Wall Street – a great deal of important information is being passed around but there’s no transparency for the people.

    The big loser in all of this is the alleged leaker, Pfc Bradley Manning. He got screwed by Wired and he’s going to be prosecuted by the military in a big way. I suspect he’ll spend many years behind bars.

  7. Their sourcing is questionable on other grounds too. Here’s the New York Times spinning a point, qualifying it, then showing that there’s every reason to disbelieve the original assertion. The original assertion regarding Pakistan is what makes “news.”

    Insidious rhetoric – my comments in italics-

    The documents, made available by an organization called WikiLeaks, suggest that Pakistan, an ostensible ally of the United States, allows representatives of its spy service to meet directly with the Taliban in secret strategy sessions to organize networks of militant groups that fight against American soldiers in Afghanistan, and even hatch plots to assassinate Afghan leaders. (There is clear implication that Pakistan is helping the “militant groups” fight our soldiers.)

    Taken together, the reports indicate that American soldiers on the ground are inundated with accounts of a network of Pakistani assets and collaborators that runs from the Pakistani tribal belt along the Afghan border, through southern Afghanistan, and all the way to the capital, Kabul. (Then they shift the assertion, qualify it, that U.S. soldiers are “inundated with accounts” of that which is asserted agove)

    Much of the information — raw intelligence and threat assessments gathered from the field in Afghanistan— cannot be verified and likely comes from sources aligned with Afghan intelligence, which considers Pakistan an enemy, and paid informants. Some describe plots for attacks that do not appear to have taken place. (Now they tell us that the basis for the assertions in the first paragraph are from unverified sources or Afghan (Karzai) intelligence, which is hostile to Pakistan.

    New York Times, July 25

    I don’t know what the truth of this is and Pakistan’s agenda is different from ours in critical ways, but this type of rhetorical sleight of hand is fairly obvious if you look and lousy journalism.

    These people need to find something better to do with their time. The NYT comes up with some great stories, short lived usually. But the paper has its own political agenda and pushes it under the veil of journalism.

  8. Thanks for adding that to the info. After Elsberg said that Wikileaks’ Julian Assange was in danger from the government, I heard someone say, no, they want to talk to him before the leaks go out and tell him what may go seriously wrong with some of the documents. I don’t know which position is correct but it’s an ugly process. The Taliban are extremely violent by nature to anyone they can victimize who is on the wrong side of their narrow doctrine. This should be sufficient incentive for some more killing sprees in small villages and out of the way places. All this for what?

  9. that it’d be completely OK for me to go work for them in the US without a work visa – that there was pretty much zero risk I’d be caught.

    I laughed and shot the proposal down out of hand. However small they might have considered it, it was a “non-zero” risk; the responsibility for that choice rested solely with me and the potential consequences would likely be life-changing.

    “Somebody” can say whatever they like. But the WikiLeaks folks are still analyzing the documents, and for all Assange might know, that document haul might contain implications that certain individuals or groups might consider worth an enormous amount of risk to suppress. The documents released so far appear on their face to be about the mundane realities of war – but war today is as much about money and corruption as it has ever been at any time in history. And people are murdered every single day over money.

    Maybe it’s not plausible that Assange, finding himself on the brink of releasing potentially toxic info, might have been persuaded to suddenly become an uncharacteristically incompetent pilot, or become despondent enough to hang himself or shoot himself twice in the head.

    But it’s not up to others to determine what constitutes an acceptable risk for someone.

    “The best-informed man is not necessarily the wisest. Indeed there is a danger that precisely in the multiplicity of his knowledge he will lose sight of what is essential.”

    – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  10. argument and then you use the distortion to build a case against something I didn’t argue. As such, you’re arguing with yourself.

    I presented two positions on the government attempt to contact Assange – Elsberg’s that Assange was in danger and one that I heard that the government wanted to preclude documents that put people in danger. I then said,

    “I don’t know which position is correct but it’s an ugly process.”

    That established my neutrality on the issue. You can make any argument you want in response to my comments. But when you offer up a major distortion, deliberately assign the distortion to me, and then condemn me for this, I’m more than happy to point out the technique involved.

    Instead of seeing that I took a neutral position, you made your focused your comment on my use “somebody” to reference a consistent government policy between the time something is leaked and it’s release by the media. The government has multiple reasons to try to get reporters to hold back leaks. The NYT did so at Bush’s request in October 2004 on illegal wire tapping, as an example. It’s not a controversial statement and, more importantly, it’s not one that I endorsed.

    With regard to reasons for holding back some items to prevent deaths, here’s one reported outcome:

    Anyway, so the Taliban are doing exactly what I said they would do, in my pieces for PBS and CJR: they are vowing to hunt down and murder anyone who is identified in the Wikileaks archive as having worked for the U.S.

    Exclusive: The Taliban has issued a chilling warning to Afghans, alleged in secret US military files leaked on the internet to have worked as informers for the Nato-led coalition, telling Channel 4 News “US spies” will be hunted down and punished. Registan.Net

    You offered up three dead public figures as proof of something, I’m not sure what. The “Dark Alliance” series reporter Gary Webb died under suspicious circumstances. Even if the death had been a clear cut case of suicide, the defamation of Webb’s outstanding work by the Washington Post and New York Times began a spin down in his career when, after great reporting, he was ruined professionally. Palfrey’s death is of real concern since there were no signs of depression, she had plans for the future, and she had finally started using an excellent counsel in her behalf. Maybe we’ll know what happened to them at some point, but it has nothing to do with Assange; just as your reply had nothing much to do with my comment.

  11. of the “someone” who implied Assange was quite safe to come in for a chat as a criticism of your own more balanced points, which wasn’t the intention. Assigning that view to you would indeed be straw man argumentation, but if you re-read my comment I think you’ll see what it’s directed at.

    I’m not alleging the three figures are associated by some sort of conspiracy. I’m linking them by the surface characteristics of their deaths – violent death in murky circumstances while in possession of information inconvenient to factions within the US Government. Whether similarities exist that go beyond that is not relevant to my point. A wise man would tread with particular caution and stay as far out of reach as possible.

    Twenty years ago the idea that factions within the USG – and calling them what they are, criminal factions – might use “wet work” amongst their own citizens to eliminate “inconveniences” would be science fiction, the stuff of supermarket thrillers. Today, at the intersection of such secrecy, such corruption and such plentiful dark expertise, it’s a virtual certainty it’s on the table for some.

    “The best-informed man is not necessarily the wisest. Indeed there is a danger that precisely in the multiplicity of his knowledge he will lose sight of what is essential.”

    – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  12. …an acceptable risk for someone.” Isn’t that exactly what Assange et.al have themselves done?

    On the issue of “analysis” a large part of the problem with all of this is that the analytical capability of the wikileaks model is very, very weak – particularly compared to their dissemination capability. Their attitude is blast it out there and let the chips fall where they may (where “where they may” is understood to have an actual desired trend). They’ve done a good job at making data available and a less good job at organizing data but analytically they’re not even able to see the ballpark. On two occasions now (particularly the latter) they’ve constructed presentation environments that are designed to let people reach in and pull out what they want, not test things.

    “The absence of any US-Iran bilateral channel…may have the perverse effect of reinforcing Iranian interest in progressing in the nuclear realm so that the US will be forced to take it seriously and engage it directly.” ~ Richard Haass

  13. They’ve made attempts to minimize harm, but they’re certainly vulnerable to the accusation that in the interests of holding collateral damage to as close to zero as possible they should always err on the side of greater restraint and caution. They’ve undoubtedly balanced the certainty of collateral damage against the value they attach to their target and come up with a calculation that is, at least in their view, defensible.

    These moral calculations were undoubtedly learned by long observation and repeated example, since they’re doing precisely what we do every day – what we showed them was a good, and right, and proper exercise of both power and the moral responsibility that accompanies it.

    “The best-informed man is not necessarily the wisest. Indeed there is a danger that precisely in the multiplicity of his knowledge he will lose sight of what is essential.”

    – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  14. …seeking to mitigate the collateral damage of disclosure they’d have tried something (which they don’t appear to have done) and I expect we’d have heard about the measures by now, given that it’s an effective avenue for criticism that is being exploited. Instead what we’ve heard was that what harm reduction there was was imposed by the source and assertions that no harm can thus far be demonstrated.

    “The absence of any US-Iran bilateral channel…may have the perverse effect of reinforcing Iranian interest in progressing in the nuclear realm so that the US will be forced to take it seriously and engage it directly.” ~ Richard Haass

  15. since they’ve stated clearly that they’ve held back many more documents of greater concern. Unless one assumes they’re lying (which without evidence I do not), this indicates an attempt to mitigate harm.

    Thus the issue is not whether or not that attempt to mitigate is being made, it’s whether or not that mitigation is *satisfactory* – whether it *meets a particular set of standards* or whether or not one likes their reasons. Some would say it has to be assessed in light of the value of the desired outcome. Some would place the bar much higher, and say that any endangerment of life fails those standards.

    In short, it’s our own debate on collateral damage in a mirror.

    “The best-informed man is not necessarily the wisest. Indeed there is a danger that precisely in the multiplicity of his knowledge he will lose sight of what is essential.”

    – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  16. …have held back appears, judging by their non-defence of themselves, to have been intended to reduce harm to white guys, not Afghans.

    “The absence of any US-Iran bilateral channel…may have the perverse effect of reinforcing Iranian interest in progressing in the nuclear realm so that the US will be forced to take it seriously and engage it directly.” ~ Richard Haass

  17. is certainly a novel lens to frame this through. I haven’t seen any evidence that Julian Assange thinks in terms of Wikileaks being a vehicle to make the world a safer, more transparent place for white people – my impression was rather the opposite. Got any info that might bear on that?

    “The best-informed man is not necessarily the wisest. Indeed there is a danger that precisely in the multiplicity of his knowledge he will lose sight of what is essential.”

    – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  18. …material was not harmful in every instance that I’ve been able to find (which is about five in various forms, though it’s hard to tell what they track back to on primary – below find the ones that I can specifically tie to given events) he spoke of harm reduction based on the fact that the information was not timely and the level of classification of the information. Only after the harm to Afghans issue breaks does the story come to be one where the harm reduction specifically includes Afghans who might not be fence sitting with enough enthusiasm.

    Video clip with the Guardian – appears to be some form of collateral around the release (my transcript):

    Militaries keep information secret to prosecute their part of a war, but also to hid abuse. And there is a military argument for keeping some information secret that is very timely so the, an example of where the troops are about to deploy, um but that information expires quickly, and this information ranges from 2004 to 2010, uh so that argument is not valid for this type of information.”

    Interview with Time Magazine:

    Do you feel that no one’s security will be threatened by the publication of this material?

    We feel confident. The material is seven months old; we reviewed it extensively. We held back 15,000 documents that we felt needed further review because the type of classifications they had. We’ve been publishing for four years a range of material that has caused the changing of constitutions and the removal of governments, but there’s never been a case that we are aware of that has resulted in the personal injury of anyone.”

    The press conference releasing the material (again, my transcript):

    We have tried hard to make sure that this material does not put innocents at harm. All the material is over seven months old, so it’s of no current operational consequence, even though it may be of very significant investigative consequence.”

    Now in his at least partial defence, I have also since starting this thread found this, from the 29th (i.e., after the Afghans at risk issue blew up):

    TONY JONES: You said in your press conference that you and the conventional journalists you’d worked with had only managed to read between one and 2,000 of the reports properly. Is that correct?

    JULIAN ASSANGE: Yeah, that is true. To read and to read them in detail and that, there is just so much material we maybe had 20 people across the four organisations working on this full time and only for about a month for the other organisations and about six weeks for us.

    TONY JONES: So, how many of the reports that you put on Wikileaks went onto the site without you actually knowing the detail of what was in them?

    JULIAN ASSANGE: It’s fair to say that only two per cent have been read in precise detail and the rest have been hived off using these classification systems.

    Now, I presume what your question is getting to is what, how did we split off the 15,000 that we have not yet released because we think they need further review to understand whether there might be innocent informers’ names in there.

    So after reviewing several different types of material we saw that it was really these threat reports and then some other classifications that contained information about informers, so those were all hived off.”

    Me, on the sum total of the evidence that I’ve seen, what I think happened is that they did not do a comprehensive harm reduction (pretty hard to do when one doesn’t read the material) but that, as he says, they relied on the classification applied (and I think they’re trying to spin a bit post facto – welcome to the club). If we’re talking informers, specifically as he says and depending on how much detail was in the system (hard to tell given what they’ve described thus far) they may have excluded SECRET//HCS material – (that would specifically take out HUMINT related material – my guess is that the take was from a non-TS net) – anyone they were running as a controlled source and maybe even a bit beyond.

    Bottom line, I think this ties back to an inability to place oneself in the other guy’s shoes – you’ll recall how incredulous I was as to why named folks were in such a datastore? Same sort of thing, I think, happened to Assange and the wikileaks folks, all of us failing to remember the quotidien reality of living in a contested battle space – not everything that gets you bladed gets marked as HUMINT.

    “Ain’t nobody here but us Injuns.” ~ not-Richard Haass

  19. This furthers judtplainDave’s comments.

    The Times (firewalled again, I’m sorry) asked Wikileaks founder Julian Assange what he thought of it (the use of “Afghans by name, family, location, and ideology):

    • He claimed that many informers in Afghanistan were “acting in a criminal way” by sharing false information with Nato authorities.
    • He said the White House knew that informants’ names could be exposed before the release but did nothing to help WikiLeaks to vet the data.
    • He insisted that any risk to informants’ lives was outweighed by the overall importance of publishing the information.

    Mr Assange said: “No one has been harmed, but should anyone come to harm of course that would be a matter of deep regret — our goal is justice to innocents, not to harm them. That said, if we were forced into a position of publishing all of the archives or none of the archives we would publish all of the archives because it’s extremely important to the history of this war.”Registan.Net on Assange TimesOnline interview July 30

    So, the release by Wikileaks supersedes the value of saving lives of Afghans or others who will be killed as a result of the leak. What is that value of the leaks that is so far above human life: “It’s extremely important to the history of this war” Assange states. Floyd makes the case that there’s not much new here given previous coverage o the war. So the value must be the “history of the war.” Those who die will die in the name of history.

    But what does Assange think of the war?

    Here he is in the Wall Street Journal, July 27:

    Mr. Assange said the source who leaked the documents was motivated by a desire “to call attention to a number of these incidents.”

    For his own part, Mr. Assange said he doesn’t “really have an opinion about whether the war should stop.”

    “We just have the opinion that the abuses should stop, the abuses of war should stop,” he said.

    Mr. Assange said he hopes the release of the documents will lead to a “deep understanding and scrutiny of the war in Afghanistan, and, as a result, changes in policy about the prosecution of the war.”

    How about that. Assange has no opinion on whether the war should stop. It’s an absurd position logically since those who favor the war and those who oppose both hope it stops, with either a victory or a withdrawal. I wonder if he has an opinion on whether or not the war should go on indefinitely?

    He sounds like the Liberal Democratic Party in the UK, which focused on prosecuting the war more efficiently …. compared to what.

    I think the honeymoon is over for Wikileaks. It is reaping the praise of some in the antiwar movement while, at the same time, taking no position on the war itself.

  20. that Wikileaks must necessarily have a position on the Afghan War at all. It might, or it might not, but that’s besides the point. That’s not its purpose.

    It is not about opposition to or support for a particular policy, nor is it solely focused on America, or even the West. Wikileaks exists as a reaction, and as a countermeasure, to government and corporate secrecy gone insane.

    I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if the anti-war movement falls in love and out of love with Wikileaks again and again, since Wikileaks isn’t an anti-war organization – it was born as an anti-secrecy organization.

    “The best-informed man is not necessarily the wisest. Indeed there is a danger that precisely in the multiplicity of his knowledge he will lose sight of what is essential.”

    – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  21. on my central point, which is that there is no doubt that Wikileaks did attempt to mitigate harm. There’s certainly room for debate after the fact about how diligent or effective those attempts were. Or whether it’s valid to use good intentions and broader goals to justify any collateral harm, no matter how small. Or even whether or not those providing support or intelligence to a combatant remain non-combatants themselves. These are, of course, mirror images of the arguments used about the (vastly greater) collateral damage caused by the US military.

    Bottom line, I think this ties back to an inability to place oneself in the other guy’s shoes – you’ll recall how incredulous I was as to why named folks were in such a datastore?

    I do. And that was rather shockingly lax and incompetent of the US military – to return to a theme you introduced earlier, it does indeed make you wonder if they would have been more diligent and professional in the protection of those identities if it was white people whose safety they were protecting. Instead, it seems to have been handled on not much greater a level of security than enlisted mens’ mail from home.

    Perhaps it’s a bit harder to put yourself in the sandals of someone named Abdelaziz than the Nikes of someone named Loretta or Chuck.

    “The best-informed man is not necessarily the wisest. Indeed there is a danger that precisely in the multiplicity of his knowledge he will lose sight of what is essential.”

    – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  22. …as to how effective or diligent those measures were. They were clearly neither of those things. Very, very clearly. There is room for debate as to whether that failure was deliberate or not. Me, I think it was an oversight, most likely caused by a conceptual failure – there for the grace of god, etc. The alternative is that Assange made a deeply, deeply flawed ethical judgement. I believe that he did not – in my opinion he has many flaws, but on the balance of evidence and with benefit of reflection I don’t think so callous a disregard is one of them.

    As to the rest of what you’ve put forward above, the aspects of it that are germane to the issue at hand I have very well settled in my mind and really I have absolutely no time for the rhetoric-[in a good way] heavy exercise that will inevitably slide into.

    “If you put out a 75 meg dataset and want others to analyze it, make sure the csv file works in something other than fucking Excel. Oh, and metadata would be nice. (Almost finished building an SPSS dataset – if anyone wants a copy lemme know and I’ll post it somewhere you can get it.)” ~ not-Richard Haass

  23. As I posted elsewhere, in my mind this is not an primarily an exercise in morality but an exercise in the wielding of power (albeit with interesting moral arguments embedded, of course). It will be extremely interesting to see how it plays out in future releases.

    “The best-informed man is not necessarily the wisest. Indeed there is a danger that precisely in the multiplicity of his knowledge he will lose sight of what is essential.”

    – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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