New Wikileaks release
The new documents are out and seem mostly just to be embarrassing, though Peter King of NY is, of course, calling for a military strike on Wikileaks, more or less. But Greenwald makes a good point:
. . . McClatchy‘s Nancy A. Youssef documents how prior claims by the U.S. government that WikiLeaks disclosures would endanger lives turned out to be pure fiction:
American officials in recent days have warned repeatedly that the release of documents by WikiLeaks could put people’s lives in danger.
But despite similar warnings ahead of the previous two massive releases of classified U.S. intelligence reports by the website, U.S. officials concede that they have no evidence to date that the documents led to anyone’s death. . . .
Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell has said previously that there was no evidence that anyone had been killed because of the leaks. Sunday, another Pentagon official told McClatchy that the military still has no evidence that the leaks have led to any deaths.
Will that prevent media figures and many other people from running around this week mindlessly parroting the Government’s claim — without pointing to any specifics or other evidence — that WikiLeaks has endangered lives with this latest release? No, it will not. Beyond specific disclosures, WikiLeaks’ true crime here is to strike a major blow against the U.S. Government’s authority generally and secrecy powers in particular; how one views the American Government’s behavior in the world is likely to determine one’s reaction to WikiLeaks (i.e., is it a good thing or a bad thing when America’s attempted power projection in the world is subverted and its ability to act in the dark undermined?). Ultimately, WikiLeaks’ real goal appears to me to be anti-authoritarian at its core: to prevent the world’s most powerful factions from operating in the dark. There may be reasonable objections to this latest release — such as the fact that war becomes more likely if diplomacy is undermined — but I’d argue that one’s views in general of WikiLeaks is shaped primarily by one’s views of the legitimacy and justness of those authorities.
John Cole notes an added irony of the furor over this latest disclosure: "I have a hard time getting worked up about it – a government that views none of my personal correspondence as confidential really can’t bitch when this sort of thing happens." Note how quickly the "if-you’ve-done-nothing-wrong-then-you-have-nothing-to-hide" mentality disappears when it’s their privacy and communications being invaded rather than yours.
I’d note an added irony: many of the same people who supported the invasion of Iraq and/or who support the war in Afghanistan, drone strikes and assassination programs — on the ground that the massive civilians deaths which result are justifiable "collateral damage" — are those objecting most vehemently to WikiLeaks’ disclosure on the ground that it may lead to the death of innocent people. For them, the moral framework suddenly becomes that if an act causes the deaths of any innocent person, that is proof that it is not only unjustifiable but morally repellent regardless of what it achieves. How glaringly selective is their alleged belief in that moral framework.
Either way, McClatchy describes how WikiLeaks took great pains to redact information harmful to innocents. Claims that WikiLeaks has endangered lives should be accompanied by specific disclosures and evidence of that harm before being considered credible. . .