Thursday, December 2, 2010

Update: Wiki-leaks hacked: comedy or tragedy?

Alfredo Triff

If the government knows that the willingness of people to give up rights in order to fight terrorism is proportional to their level of fear, then it’s obvious that we should expect more fear.-- Hans Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations, 1954

Wiki-leaks has delivered another digital coup. Yet, compared with the previous Iraq Log,1 these memos -with detailed characterizations of world leaders' behaviors- seem out of a libretto from la commedia dell'arte. We learn that Libya's Qaddafi has vertigo and "cannot travel" without his "voluptuous blonde" nurse from Ukraine. Mr. Putin, is an "alpha dog" who behaves like "Batman," while Medvedev "plays Robin." Sarkozy is referred to as an "emperor with no clothes," "thin-skinned" and "authoritarian." Germany's Angela "teflon" Merkel "avoids risks and is rarely creative," and so on. American diplomats are running for cover (there's much foreign trepidation and Schadenfreude).

 Honoré Daumier, At the Theater, (1860-64). 

Public reactions to the leak are as faithful to the script as you may expect: Politicians of all persuasions portray Wiki-leaks as the monster. Republicans like Palin want to hunt Asange "with the same urgency we pursue Taliban leaders." Fox personality O'Reilly wishes the leakers were executed. Congressman Peter King avers that the website should be declared a foreign terrorist organization (shouldn't these libertarian conservatives distrust government's reach and defend the people's freedom of expression?).

Then, Hilary Clinton's response is -predictably?- surprisingly conservative! Our government feels betrayed, ridiculed. Even some progressive thinkers question Wiki-leaks' ulterior motives. A liberal commentator declares on the radio that "America has lost its credibility." In contrast, journalists all over the world support the mission of the website. They agree that the most insidious effect of our present political and economic crisis is the undermining of public opinion (the press is dying by slow strangulation).2

Keep in mind that politics is a constant struggle among different actors (groups) pursuing conflicting desires on public issues. Then there is power. And right now our military power has become one dimensional. This hegemony is the greatest danger. The paradox of American power is that it is too great to be challenged by any other state, yet not great enough to solve problems such as global terrorism and nuclear proliferation. It is as if due to a society forcefully laid open by the pressure of globalizing forces, power and politics drift ever further in opposite directions. By overreaching itself, the system's resources become over-extended and it declines as a result.

The Pentagon, Washington, DC.

Politics as "morals"

The individuals portrayed in these cables recall Northrop Frye's Theory of Comedy.3 We're not dealing with heroes, but rather defeated, stereotyped characters. We live in a skewed, absurd world filled with unforeseen danger, social apprehension and hypocrisy, where unscrupulous characters win and the honest lose. Yet, one doesn't get a sense of impending doom but instead, an ordinary this-is-the-way-it-is media debriefing. Is this not a bit manipulative? 4  

What's going on? Politics is "presented" by politicians as guided by morals, but it's actually a realm of means-to-end, which is why Machiavelli counsels that in politics, one must suspend what's right for what's expedient.5 

Politics as Law
Legal experts weigh in: Wiki-leaks has stolen documents, which constitute a criminal act (as if legal arguments cannot be overridden by moral considerations, such as transparency to the public and coherence in foreign policy). As Norman Solomon suggests, "the recent mega-leaks are especially jarring because of the extreme contrasts between the U.S. government's public pretenses and real-life actions." Of course the legal reach gets intractably complicated: there is anonymity, tracking down violations, locating the offender, claiming jurisdiction over such offender (which brings forth geography, problem with mirror siting, etc, etc.).

Is Wiki-leaks not a counterbalance in an environment where the media plays an "opiates of the masses" role, subsidized by political interests? 

Politics as comedy

One should resist looking at this as a showdown between good and evil. It's too simple. True, at one local level, some people feel they have to oppose an unjust and secretive system -while others feel betrayed by it. At a more systemic level, Wiki-leaks transcends the issue of freedom of expression vs. national security.6 Like any organism, whatever comes its way, the system tries to adapt. In this case, the balance lies between two opposite hypothesis: The Slippery Slope and the Weimar Hypothesis. In the first scenario, the government trims some rights, which raises little alarm at the time (e.g., Guantanamo and torture under G.W. Bush's reign). Then a few other rights are curtailed (wiretapping, public coercion against opposing the wars, etc). Soon, more rights are lost and gradually the entire institutional structure on which democracy rests tumbles down the slope with nobody able to stop it. In the second hypothesis, we resemble the Weimar Republic of the 1920's, which lost its legitimacy and opened the door to a tyrannical government due to its woefully insufficient responses to major public needs.

Let's not ignore that Internet technology offers the potential for more liberating forms of social organization. Capitalism and Marxism are predicated on the belief in technological progress and its potential for social improvement (unfortunately, far from fostering social change, technological developments are generally absorbed by the system and actually reinforce existing social structures). Communication and information have two sides. They provide a collection of "facts" but at the same time they become a tool for social management.

Isn't information a form of cultural and political domination?

Facebook Ad. Facebook is a patent tool of social management. It already has the potential to be used as a form of commerce!

Wiki-leaks presents a way for the system to purge itself in order to find an ideal equilibrium between its internal and external pressures. First, the leak is received as an unexpected, undesired event. Then we get all sort of reactions: surprise, incongruity, conflict, and the aftereffect of opposite expectations. A comedy of errors, all in synch with the part!

What if the leak's unmitigated public attention works in favor of the American policies the leak denounces?

Some have already observed that, compared with their American counterparts, the tone of the Arab leaders on the Iran problem (as it appears in the memos) "seems pretty jingoistic." David Rothkopf writes in The Financial Times that the Wiki-leaks information shows "the formidable courage and capabilities of many US diplomats." As you may expect from comedy's ethos, the memos already have the redeeming effect of producing more happiness than suffering. The endless repetition of the cables in all the major papers of the world ensure the desired mirroring didactic effect.

This recent development about Chinese hacking of US intelligence and China's Communist Party's obsession with Google proves my point. The leaks are "out there," re-processed, regurgitated and ultimately re-assimilated by the system (and its omnipresent media) in the form of analysis, predictions, forecasts, etc, etc, etc.

Or these recent "Middle East cables," which cannot be more favorable to the system. As fear-sounding bites, they justify the system's entrenchment. It looks legitimate, because fear is generated not from within the system (as an excuse), but from its nemesis (as a veracious source).

Thanks to Wiki-leaks, fear sounds not appallingly alarming, but truthful.7

Let's wait and see how the initial shock gives way to more stable, optimistic, assessments. The system will end up in a better place than it started at. Whether that's "really" better is another thing.
1Actually, this dump is no Pentagon Papers either. What's different is the new technology. At the moment of publishing this post, one cannot access the Wiki-leaks link. Has the site been hacked? The New York Times seems the best second choice. 2 The inference is not that citizens ought to refuse to sacrifice individual freedom on behalf of measures proposed in the name of national security, but rather that any sacrifice should be made knowingly, with full consciousness of what is being given up, and why. It should always be necessary to make a positive case for any limitation upon individual freedom, and also for the specific method to be employed in administering the limitation. By viewing these dangerous possibilities in advance, we can reasonably hope to prevent or mitigate their occurrence. The picture projected is what might happen, not what must happen.  3Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism, Four Essays (Princeton University Press, 2000).  4 Spanish El País follows the New York Times style of parading the different memos on its global front page. French Le Monde (in French style) presents a photo-series ridiculing world leaders. Wiki-leaks can be seen as a unique phenomenon of the digital era. Wiki-leaks most dramatic moment so far is when the site revealed the so called Iraq War Logs, detailing information that the American people didn't know: 109,032 deaths in Iraq (comprised of 66,081 'civilians'; 23,984 'enemy' (those labeled as insurgents); 15,196 'host nation' (Iraqi government forces) and 3,771 'friendly' (coalition forces). 5In other words, "moral pathos resides in a situation, not where the end justifies the means, but where the end dictates means of a type which renders both the wholly good and the wholly evil superfluous."  Sheldon Wolin, Politics and Vision, (Princeton University Press, 2004) p. 87. 6 Most intelligence experts agree that these memos are not "NOT DIS" information, which would be really compromising.  7 From the NYTimes article cited above: "The documents are filled with secret government intelligence on possible terrorist-financing plots, like the case of a Somali preacher who was reportedly touring Sweden, Finland and Norway last year to look for money and recruits for the Shabab, a militant group in Somalia, or that of a Pakistani driver caught with about $240,000 worth of Saudi riyals stuffed behind his seat. One memo even reported on a possible plot by the Iranians to launder $5 billion to $10 billion in cash through the Emirates' banks as part of a broader effort to "stir up trouble" among the Persian Gulf states, though it was not clear how much of the money might be channeled to militants." See that the New York Times is publishing information which -independently of their veracity- justifies the policies of the system.


Mayeya said...

Good article, Alfredo. Perhaps, if politicians need to cover their back because of the threatening technology, then they end up being less corrupt.

Feminista said...

Good take Triff. I feel torn with this leak. Wiki has published some good. This is less so. The (system) as you call it is not infallible. I think the system's equilibrium is in overdrive. We are more that cogs in the machine.

Dissey said...

I agree. Theres always something perverse going on behind the scenes. Still I think Wikileaks is doin a good job of exposin coverups. Thats why they hacked it. The truth is always better no matter how bitter.

miamibourbaki said...

Let's hope that's the case. Thanks Mayeya. Keep visiting.

Feminista: I'm torn myself.

The truth is always better no matter how bitter.

I'm with you, D.

Anonymous said...

revolutionize your thought process, what you thought is right is no longer what we hold to be true. Our government is elected by the people, it is the people who need keep the government in check. people have become complacent accepting, whatever the government says as gospel. Wikileaks is a blessing in disguise. it is a wake up call. the people need to know. it is our duty to hold each other and our government officials accountable. Palin,Clinton,Obama, everyone running scared. Assange being called a terrorist? "hunt him with the same dedication we hunt Taliban terrorist?"Information as a terroristic tool?Information is there for the picking, what you do with it is your prerogative. the truth shall set us free.

cinderella said...

Wikileaks has indeed changed the way we think of terror. Or privacy in America, it has been long known that America has secrets. So does every other country, over time we learn more and more. But now there is a legitimate source with documents released from the source not third party. These events show we are not safe whether it be a physical threat or a internet/ communication event. First it was china with the google viruses, now wikileaks with Iraqi and Afghanistan leaks. Now its about secret deals and name calling, childish yes. But serious, it shows that America does not take foreign relations as serious as they should. We are already the bully but now there is written proof on how we feel.
This in a way is an act of terrorism, this could lead to deaths if things don’t go good. Or it could just be blown off. Because as people we always degrade and make fun of because, its who we are. But chances of this blowing over are slim.
Its ironic that wikileaks was hacked into and there was a virus uploaded. But in my opinion they deserve it. Its better than actual conflict.
-cinderella santos

that is not the fault of art said...

"The leaks are "out there," re-processed, regurgitated and ultimately re-assimilated by the system (and its omnipresent media) in the form of analysis, predictions, forecasts, etc, etc, etc."

Are you not regurgitating too?

Wilmer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wilmer said...

Wiki-leaks present a handful of documents that the government has concealed from the public. A debate about the acquisition and the origin of the document can bring the validity of document into question. Since the establishment of the United States, there has always been information not released to the public for numerous reasons. One of the most important is welfare for all its citizens. If this information leaks to other countries they may use it to cause unnecessary harm to the U.S. citizens. The government does not intentionally withhold information to keep its citizens uninformed. Also if this information were to be released it would allow for misinterpretation by organizations to manipulate a population and obtain a personal goal. Media for years does not give a clear view or present all the facts that led to actual events. The shooting of a news crew in a war zone appears to leave little doubt about the unjust killing of innocent bystanders. It brings negative views on the government and the actions of the soldiers involved. Al Jazeera a news station based in the Middle East does not openly proclaim its support for the terrorist. They have been known to assist terrorist leaders in planning and attacking Coalition Forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan. They use the news crew label as a cover to their actual actions. Anyone can bring questions to support a side when situations like this come about, but the reality is that he are sometimes misinformed.

Wilmer Almendares

Stenia said...

Political affairs have never been in my interest since I was young because I grew up in an environment of political corruption. I never perceived a government as a static and pure institution; it was always about exploitation of the least to the profit of the better fitted. Now that I lived in another environment in the U.S and I am more educated than before I feel a certain duty to get involve in political issues because as far as I am concern I need to be inform of what is really going on. I am not going to openly declare that Wiki leaks is right doing that or it is wrong ; the main important thing that we need to look at are the reasons why the government is hiding certain information to the public. If these reasons promote the welfare for the greatest good they may be acceptable. However, what is the most important to do as a leader lying or telling the truth? I believe that one would say that lying is wrong no matter what because it might not have an immediate consequences but lies one day or another will leads to more suffering. In Spite of the fact that truth may hurt for a certain period, it may have a positive consequences in the future. This is why I believe if the main person does not have the courage to do it, someone has to do it and this is what Wiki leaks is doing.

Stenia Accilien

Stenia said...

As I can see in that post, political figures are against wiki leaks’ goals because they feel that they are being betrayed. What I would say is that their justification for not approving wiki leaks ‘s action is not valid for several reasons. First, the government is working for us they are not working for themselves, thus is logic that we have a report on what is really going on. Second, if they are doing something good why would they be ashamed of it being divulgated? I strongly believe that if the government is doing something without our consent or without our knowledge is because it wrong and it is not in our interest but theirs. We all know that when we have knowledge we feel powerful and when we are ignorant we are more likely to be manipulated. Under this ground, Wiki leaks have the right to let the people know about things that are happening so that we are more powerful and less exploited.

chanelebellot said...

I agree with Stenia. If the government is doing things to insure our safety and well being then why would they feel so negative about wiki-leaks? Perhaps because they are being revealed for what they really are and what their really doing. For example, the oil spill devastation. The government lied to us about the amount of oil spilling into the ocean because it was so vast in size they felt the need to keep the truth from us? How long do you suppose this has been going on for? How much information have they kept from us? How much more and for how long is this going to continue?

Isaac Chayo said...

Governments and rulers have yet to cease the employment of sinister and manipulative agendas. The political homogenization of society is now reaching a point of singularity where Social Networking, The Entertainment Industry, The Media, and other sources of input continuously work towards subduing the masses into OBEDIENCE. The hypocritical tendencies that are rarely professed in the world of politics, need to be revealed to the public.

How can man ever be aware of what is TRULY going on behind the scenes? Television and the majority of Newspapers have a strict regulation on the information that is released, and the government rarely discloses anything that could endanger the trust of its citizens. The ominous underlying truth behind the smokescreen needs to be revealed to the people. A counter-movement should be established that may ensure that a true DEMOCRACY is upheld. Democracy is just a word with a fancy, appealing, and quite attractive connotation; however, is it truly consolidated by empirical facts?

Corporate and Government control and the suppression of valuable information goes further into a COVERT form of tyranny-- whereby men are unaware that their right to invaluable information is REVOKED. Wikileaks is a mecca and symbol for a free society of information exchange.. Quite frankly, the resistance that is immediately apparent is one of the symptoms of FEAR.

The facade needs to be lifted before human beings are at a point of no return. Technology is a double-edged sword-- it can assist in the autocratic enslavement and the mobilization of destructive ideals, or it may reach a state of balanced symbiosis with a free governing humanity.
You see, transparency invokes trepidation in the hearts of the great abusive powers that be. The persecution of those who uphold freedom is a perennial archetype for the deterrence of human progress. A dire prerequisite must be met for a force to rise which effectively turns the tides of control towards the people rather than the elite corporatocratic system. The usage of hypnotic conditioning words such as SAFETY and TERRORISM are cleverly elaborate psychological tools for fear-mongering and the promise of a relieving SECURITY.

It could very well be some kind of Counter-Intelligence Plot though.. Imagine if Wiki Leaks itself was a clever subversive and damaging construct? Perhaps it will encourage honesty? What if the opposite is true?

"If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.. the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or imagined, from abroad" - James Madison

Johanna Meneses said...

I believe in freedom of speech and in government transparence, however, I don’t believe that information like gossip about other world politicians needs to be posted online or anywhere for the world to see. It makes us look unprofessional, we lose credibility, and we look weak to our rivals. The government is wrong for concealing many things and wiki leeks is an awesome revolutionary website, however, they should take a closer look at what to post, and they should release information that is relevant to what we need to know about our country, not gossip! I’m sure many people from all over the world hate Americans and say all kinds of undiplomatic comments about our us leaders “so what is the big problem “,now they know what some of our politicians are thinking and saying about them? It’s ridiculous I think, that’s why I don’t like politics because there’s so much hypocrisy, hidden agendas, and racism that it’s disgusting.I ponder what must be the motives of releasing this particular information, why not something for the actual habitants on the U.S,why something that would infuriate other countries? Is this a form of terrorism? This is someone that obviously wants to hurt the U.S international relations.

Jose C. Rodriguez said...

All of these public figures are condemning Wikileaks because of the potential that information posted could threaten national security, but doesn't the government work for us? What ever happened to we the people? We, as Americans, should demand from our government what we should rightfully know. Who knows what hundreds of thousands of secrets they are keeping, what Wikileaks is uncovering is probably the tip of the iceberg. Are we not the world's largest military force? Why is there so much secrecy? Are we being fed lies and cover ups? It would seem that if the government or mainstream media has no control over a piece of information that information is either invalid or of terrorist origin.

miamibourbaki said...

Wiki-leaks will morph. Thanks, Cinderella.

Of course I'm regurgitating! (And you too). Thanks.

The government does not intentionally withhold information to keep its citizens uninformed.

I doubt that, Wilmer. Thanks.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
carolina.salinas002 said...

Wiki leaks has provided the public with documents that has questioned the governments tactics in handling some issues. One of the issues leaked was one of a helicopter killing the news reporters in the field of combat. The government has been accused of using unjust means to combat terrorism. The problem with the secret documentation made by the government, is that it falls in the wrong hands which causes the document to be leaked.
Wiki leaks has confirmed the many suspicions we always have had about the government's honesty. If the government does not want files to get out they should be more aware that there are hackers who will leak out their files if they can.

Anonymous said...

The amount of knowledge that is found on the internet has no limits nowadays. It's amazing how a site like Wiki Leaks managed to broadcast secret government information all over the globe. The more we know, huh?
Over the years, we have been exposed more and more, to absolutely every single issue including the reality about war, global industry, oil affairs, etc. After so many disappointments, we, as a general public have had a watchful eye on our government. More than 40 years ago, the general public went on living knowing very little about government affairs and only those committed to do something about it, actually took their time doing the research and acted upon it with passion and diligence. I don't mean to criticize the fact that more knowledge is available today. In fact, I think it's wonderful that everyone with access to the internet has a chance to be educated. What upsets me is that with all this valuable information, most of us do nothing but yap about it. We sit so comfortable in our homes and by the push of a few buttons we look upon important issues that strike us mainly because of plain curiosity, and then we move on to surf sites such as YouTube.
So now we are deprived of knowing more information than the tons of other information we are given through other sources of mass communication. Why is it we are thirsty for information we don’t even act upon? Excess my friends. We are used to excess. We want to have it all, if we won’t make use of it at all.
It doesn't take a mob of opinionated people to make justice, it takes a few great minds and others that care enough to struggle for the truth and not complain about having to do more than type in a few words on a search toolbar. I think it is perfectly reasonable for the government to suspend this website. For our nation is at a very vulnerable position, slowly losing its title as a world leader. I'm sure those who care enough about our government's affairs will find other ways to seek truth and justice, perhaps in a more prudent way.

A.T. said...

Technology is a double-edged sword-- it can assist in the autocratic enslavement and the mobilization of destructive ideals, or it may reach a state of balanced symbiosis with a free governing humanity.

Nicely put.

A.T. said...

Why is it we are thirsty for information we don’t even act upon? Excess my friends. We are used to excess. We want to have it all, if we won’t make use of it at all.

Indeed. Thanks, PvRuiz.

...the government is working for us they are not working for themselves,

Thanks, Stenia. A simple truth many times ignored.

Lester said...

Control is the most significant attribute for power. This especially concerns the government of the United States. Before, the USA was very smart in making many million people believe that the settlement of still so many soldiers in oriental countries such as Iraq and Iran was solely for the protection of the countries' citizens against terrorism. They have been hiding their true intentions behind a very strong facade.

Now that a project like wiki leaks has brought extremely secret and disturbing data in forms of images, audio recordings, and even video to the light of truth, the US government starts feeling the loss of control. In one particular video a helicopter is shown shooting on innocent reporters. This act of cruel violence has put a bad image on our country. Once the government felt that it lost power as well as control to manage what is and what does is not for the public vision, they decided to act immediately. Shortly after these videos and images spread throughout the whole internet galaxy, the government deleted any sort of data that would scathe it in any way, as well as banned the website wiki leaks.

And then we speak about freedom of speech. Well there will always be certain things that we cannot do, and as long as the government controls this country they can manipulate its laws as much as they need to. What can we really do about this,we, the people that live, work and die for this country, have no control nor "voice" whatsoever!! Or do we?!?

- Lester Alvarez -

Johanna Meneses said...

My original comment was on yesterday? Now is gone so this is a demo.

Johanna Meneses said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Johanna Meneses said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the night owl said...

More of a comedy than a tragedy. The fact that political figures feel "offended by" and without a doubt disapprove of Wikileaks raises many questions to the way we, the people, are being treated. Why were they so quick to judge the information being implemented? Does that not, once again, raise questions as to the way we are being watchfully fed and controlled? It's funny to me that so many people consider this country as "free", when all I can see thus far are limitations of speech, knowledge, and uncertainties.

Lauren Suarez

psychology group 2 said...

I agree with the lack of transparency of politics, but we still need to account that whether the “system” is right or wrong, in the case of the United States, it is doing the best the system can. Lets also take into consideration that we are all part of the system in some way and we also make decision which show in the people who we elect to govern the country.
I personally believe that it is impossible for the system to be completely transparent as Dr. Triff says “the system takes what it can to adapt” even though I’m using it in a different context I see it as the system does the best it can to protect and serve us the best way possible, taking into account that other governments aren’t also pure and all about peace. Now that every person sees the best way of doing something in their own way is different, but once again that is where the vote of the population comes into play and we decide whose views we want to support to rule the government of the country. I’m pretty sure that people vote for other people who think in some way like them.
Now in the case of wiki-leaks if we look at it as a sign of the lack of transparency from the government then they did a beautiful job exposing it, but I see it as if the government creates those kinds of documents is because they need them to create the best possible outcome for the country, not to make a joke out of other politicians. In the case of the war papers it is true that it is unbelievable the death toll, but that’s the sacrifice we pay for defending the rights of this country’s people. Let’s not forget that the war started because of attacks all over the world against U.S embassies and then 9/11, what we did to deserve to be attack???? I see nothing wrong with putting the welfare of the country over other countries first. If the government does not defend and do all it can for its country then civil wars and other problems arrive since the government isn’t working. Take in case Colombia who has been in war for almost 60 years now.
As I see it we won’t lose our rights to our government since we are the government and we choose who to show the face in the world for all of us, just as we elect one person, we can elect any other which we find will do a better job representing our believes and doing what they have to do for the sake of this beautiful country’s rights.

Luis Briceno

Anonymous said...

As history would show us the populace has either a total trust in its government or a total distrust. It would be naive to think that there aren't back room deals or under the table policies that we are not aware of. Growing up in a post 9/11 world hasn't been easy, everything is a conspiracy, the truth is veiled behind a curtain of lies, nothing is impossible and so on. Wikileaks, it seems, offers the population a proposed pure look into these things we can only say we assume happen. It is because of this that many people in power, notably those that do not want to lose it, and people with a strong personal agenda are terrified that this internet outlet can totally destroy everything they have come to know.

As a citizen all of this is scary because our fears will become phobias and everything that we "thought" might move from the realm of disbelief to truth. Sometimes when we learn just how horrifying the truth is we beg the question "is ignorance bliss?" If we do find out the truth behind the inner workings of a government what do we do? this fear becomes more palpable and it will cause unrest in an already troubled society.

I have long wondered how truthful our government is to us but now that there is something out there that may expose, good or bad, what the government deals with I wonder if I really wanted to know all along or I just wanted to keep assuming with the off chance that I'd be wrong.

David Briceño

christopher said...

Wikileaks has tens of thousands of documents that were hidden away from the public. When people had heard the news about the leaks, and which change people’s attention about the war and terror. I feel that the government is trying to keep us safe and wikileaks is a way of diminishing that from happening, to inform us about leaks that maybe we do not understand.

Jose Brown said...

Technology is a rogue wave. Essentially, it is not bound by any moral obligation, and in fact, the attainment of which may be hindered by some kind of moral foundation. The windows of science should be maintained devoid of dust and remain free of morally regurgitated stained glass art. While afloat on our moral sail boats, its inevitable that our boats “will be rocked” by these impeding rogues and our moral fortitude will be strongly swayed or altogether capsize and sink.
Power is ceased in a multitude of ways. It can be attained by force, economic pressure, cultural pressure, and the list goes on. In the age of information, however, it seems the most reliable method of ceasing and maintaining power is through the control of data. Data itself then falls into one of two roles; on the one hand it is the torch of truth, blazing the way and enlightening societies, on the other, its nemesis lurking in the shadows, just outside of the public eye. What society wouldn’t want to tame this beast and make it fit for domesticity?
If one can duck out of sight long enough, away from the crossfire of major media’s portrayal of good vs. evil, dodge the cobwebbed labyrinth of marionette strings, and find an uncluttered space to think in, one will find themselves with front row seats to the greatest show on Earth, and alas, all of the players are wearing the tragedy-comedy masks of drama!
The general libretto explains that Assange, with his controversy-ridden wiki-leaks, is the monster we should all despise. An enemy of national security, out-of-control ourlaw, and now, we find, a conveniently accused rapist. From where I’m sitting, I’m becoming a bit bored with this over-used script. Simpleton Argumentation 101: If you can’t beat them with logic alone in an open forum, assault their character with outrageous accusations in an attempt to mar their creditability. Its such an obviously desperate attempt to quell a beast that they can’t quite get their hands on.
But is this, in fact, a monster that we’re looking at? When reading Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, some readers are steered towards believing that the doctor’s creation is a monster. Some fail to grasp the idea that perhaps the doctor who created the creature is the bad guy. Or that society itself created the monster by refusing to look the situation in the face and dubbing it such. I personally never found the creature to be a monster, just a force of altered nature trying to find its place in a society that thinks him a threat.
I don’t find Assange, or wiki-leaks to be a monster either. I look at it as a social reaction to a media conglomerate that finds itself snug with subsidies in the pockets of politicians with their own agendas and a knack for smoothing over the rough edges. Wiki-leaks is not the creation of some evil genius. Its a hole in the boat. A leak if you will, and one thing I learned about leaky boats during saturday morning cartoons all those years ago, is that if you try to cover one up, another springs up right next to it. There is no fighting the pressure.
In a world of 6.5 billion and growing, there are going to be individuals who have not yet been completely lulled into a sense of complacency and moral entropy. As long as governments remain shrouded in mystery with their decisions, there will be fertile ground for whistle blowers like wiki-leaks to flourish as a counter-balance.
The system’s weakness has been exposed and now its up to our governments and world leaders to decide on the proper course of action. Will we spiral down an Orwell-esque steep slope, with our individual freedoms become gradually depleted, or will our governing bodies find a way to adapt to the exponential evolution of technology in this age of information?
With the argument from legality echoing the Salem witch trails with its cries of Assange as a thief of secret information and a rapist, that image of a future technologically adaptable society remains as opaque as the information Wiki-Leaks tries so hard to expose.

Bryant said...

Wiki-Leaks is just basically taking private and classified files that were restricted and showing on the web. One can say that maybe classified information should be secured. Or some would say the information should be put out there to show, but some of it, I'm a little worried about reprisal or even more organized attack on targets that would not normally have been highlighted to terror groups. I mean why do we really need to know EVERYTHING the government is doing? If it doesn't bring harm to me or the U.S then one can say feel save. i mean isn't that why we have a government and a army, to protect us and to control the nation the rightful ways. If not then why have one.If the government is going to allow to show classified information we also want to think about the spies and terror groups who would have access to this information.
-Bryant Gavilan-

Tyler Richman said...

It may seem like Wiki-leaks is some new and threatening source of information, when really it can be easily comparable to Daniel Ellsberg's leak of the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times. In a situation like that, the public has a right to know that their government has lied to them about. There still isn't a definite verdict as to how helpful wiki-leaks are. For instance, confidential agreements and meetings between foreign countries are between them, not the American people. The government reserve their rights to secrecy in order to prevent the public's interference with certain decisions. On the other hand, when the people are being lied to, they deserve to know. If the press is given insight into a major story, they have the freedom to publish this information. They don't obtain it illegally and therefore have the same right that I have if i decided to post it on a personal page.

mandoguerrero said...

The Wiki-leaks does bring up a lot of interesting arguments and point of views but the truth is that it is not surprising. We all know that governments are made up of secrets and cover ups, the reason for the secrets is to maintain National Security, and to protect the countries politicians and their own corruptions. So with the technology made available to us now it makes easier for hacks, viruses and leaks. In my point of view if a certain individual comes across these types of classified documents like Julian Assange did he has the right to expose the truth and let the people know. Hopefully the wiki-leaks will scare politicians and make them feel like they must be on their best behavior cause they may never know if there is going to be more of this, also make the public more aware on their government and maybe someday we will have less corruption in our government.

Grant said...

Wikileaks, in my opinion, is a great group to have in this world of ours. Although the site and group is being shunned by government authorities does not make Wikileaks unpatriotic or horrible. Starting from the "Collateral Murder" helicopter video many months ago to the most recent international cable leaks, Wikileaks has provided information that I feel must be known by American citizens. To many shady encounters and affairs are happening abroad and I feel like this is a gut check for the United States. Politician Ron Paul put the situation in great words saying "In a free society, we are supposed to know the truth. In a society where truth becomes treason, we are in big trouble." Our government, I feel, should be more straight forward with us. I know this is difficult because of national security, but there has to be a line drawn at a more reasonable level. I for one praise Wikileaks for doing a great service to not only the American public, but also the world. A couple large American corporations have banned and blocked any Wikileaks traffic of any kind from their sites due to government pressure such as Mastercard, Amazon, and Paypal. This is a shame.
In the long run I do believe that Wikileaks will help us as a country.
-Grant Kunkel

Juan said...

Juan Munoz
We all know that every country has secrets that they have to keep from its citizens and also from other countries, and even more secrets have to be kept when a country is at war. Wiki leaks I believe is doing a good job on exposing the documents to the public, but at the same time they are exposing documents that put at risk the security of our nation. Wiki leaks has a big advantage, and it that it is placing documents that make us think twice before giving absolute power and trust to any leader that we decide to pick for our nation, but in the other hand we have to know that no matter what wiki leaks does nothing is going to change except the reputation of our country; because the way it is ruled and the way things are handle are going to stay the same.

Kathia said...

The manner in which both the politicians and the handle US opinion is manipulative always just enough fear to keep us terrified, but not to shake us from the years of conditioning our society, has had. In Europe when things go wrong people protest in the streets, their voices are heard. In the US things go wrong we simply take it. People get mad but few seldom do anything. Wiki-Leaks is a return to freedom of speech and the right of people to hold not only their nation but its leaders accountable. Information is the ultimate form of both political and cultural dominion, because when you own it you can alter it to suite your needs and agenda.

bar1128 said...

I applaud the those responsible for wiki-leaks. It takes a lot to do what they did and everyone, especially the US citizens need to be enlightened and presented with the facts and the truth about what our government thinks and how it acts. Of course politicians are going to be afraid, they are being exposed and they don''t like it. For too long we have all been kept in the dark, few of us really understand the wars that are going on and the motives (well besides the economical motive) and we need to be slapped in the face with this kind of information. We are all affected by what our politicians do, and think, and these wars and we have a right to know everything about everything.

bar1128 said... is Barbara Calvo

john said...

i think what wikileaks is doing is great. because we the public would like to know whats going on in our world today. the people who oppose wikileaks i think they have something to hide. wikileaks provides a numerous of documents regarding war and terrorist etc... my whole thing is that i dont think wikileaks should be banned me personally i would always like to read documents that the government has hidden from us because we all as americans just want to know whats going on in our world today.

Bryant said...

Wiki leaks are basically putting classified information on the web so any internet user can see. I don’t know if this is a good thing, because if the government classified information is going to be accessible where even a ten year old can see then shouldn’t we began to worry about spies having access to these files as well? Terrorist planning attacks on areas we wouldn’t think about. I don’t know sounds pretty scary to me. One can say it’s safe to not put out things the government is doing, that supposedly they are hiding or maybe it just they feel it’s not something we Americans need to know because of safety issues. I mean one doesn’t need to know EVERYTHING about classified issues going on. Am pretty sure they’re considering “classified” for a reason.

Bryant said...

Wiki leaks are basically putting classified information on the web so any internet user can see. I don’t know if this is a good thing, because if the government classified information is going to be accessible where even a ten year old can see then shouldn’t we began to worry about spies having access to these files as well? Terrorist planning attacks on areas we wouldn’t think about. I don’t know sounds pretty scary to me. One can say it’s safe to not put out things the government is doing, that supposedly they are hiding or maybe it just they feel it’s not something we Americans need to know because of safety issues. I mean one doesn’t need to know EVERYTHING about classified issues going on. Am pretty sure they’re considering “classified” for a reason.

Dayan.M said...

I believe Wiki is a great website. I support it completely. The truth is better than a lie any day of the week, no matter how difficult it is. Wiki leaks help us get to the truth that the government is hiding, and yes a lot of people in the pentagon do no agree with the website, because it shows the bad side of America.

Mercedes said...

Whether or not Wiki-Leaks is a bad thing, it doesn't really matter. What matters is if the information being given out by Wiki-Leaks is authentic and truthful. I don't believe so many political figures really care about wiki-leaks, and the ones who do are just afraid that some private information of theirs might be leaked out. I believe it is important to always know the truth no matter how much it hurts. This is why I believe that if Wiki-Leaks is actually accurate in their information, then more power to them. Yet something is certain, that no matter if the truth is release or not, there is always going to be secrets behind every door. We must learn to live with the truth, and also be willing to pay the price to obtain such truth. So if we have lost our privacy to our government so we can be safe, then I guess it is just one more thing we have to deal with. Throughout US history their has always been conspiracy and betrayal, so it really isn't of any surprise to me every time I hear lies coming out to the light. In the end we all have choices to make, we can either chose to live in darkness and ignorance, or to learn the truth and be free.

Elpowett said...

Its absurd to hear the remarks against wikileaks. The denouncing of its leaks are hilarious to me. One minute with, the next minute against. They have the right to change theyre minds but geez, c'mon! I also find it absurd that the certain politicians actually think we dont know this isnt going on. THey're probably laughing themselves at the diplomatic comments made of other countries. Sometimes the fact is funnier than fiction. I also find it absurd to hear that this has damaged National Security. If the government really wanted to secure this land they will. They wont ask permission. So powerful this country is that no state can contest it but it cannot solve nuclear proliferation. This is one big huge Tragic comedy.
I do agree that wikileaks can be a counterbalance to the "now influence" media has on us. Its like a reality check. The world needs one every now and then. "The job of the media is not to protect power from embarrassment" says Simon Jenkins a columnist and former editor of the times in London. I do agree with Mr. Jenkins. They have the right to tell the truth. What if the US brings charges against Assange? The very action would be a tragedy.

Jose Luis Guerra Sam

Melida said...

Personally I am a supporter of wiki-leaks, but I am still debating whether or not wiki was right or wrong. I feel that we need to focus on the reasons as to why the government is hiding information from its citizens, as well as the motives behind the hack. I do feel that it's good to uncover the truth, but in the end the truth doesn't matter if we don't act upon it. One thing I must say is that the hack has exposed our government and I don't necessarily feel that this is bad. WE need to be informed about the actions our government is taking. Ignorance is not bliss.

-Melida Ortega-

Anonymous said...

Well, the topic of wiki-leaks is rather intriguing. Sure, for people questioning or wanting to expose unethical behavior in their governments or institutions, whatever that means, it's liberating and actually very honorable.

But what does it mean to be ethical? The government, especially in America, is advertised as working towards the better of America. Wouldn't that be considered ethical? To work for the greater good of society? Interesting though, that much government work is done secretly for fear of being labeled unethical.

It's scary to think that the government is dictating which information is shared, and which is hidden, blocked, or destroyed-- all evidence being lost. At the time of writing this post, as you said, you could not access the Wiki-leaks webpage. HOW SCARY! Who determined that it was unfit for viewing? Who exactly is controlling the internet?

Years ago, Paulo Freire, a Brazilian educator, wrote a book addressing teaching methods called the "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" in which he addressed oppression in Brazil. He expressed that oppressors and those being oppressed all share a commonality: they are not free. Liberty is a word that neither knows.

Referring to that book [Pedagogy], sadly, it appears that America is following in the footsteps of a very oppressed Brazil. We sing about liberty, proclaim that this is the land of the FREE. But isn't it ironic that legitimate information, "freely" expressed, is no sooner confiscated, deleted, obliterated?

The government has what seems to be an all-powerful hand over the internet and all other social-media. They will NOT be exposed-- instead, they will oppress people who wish to expose, and bribe, threaten, and further chain the so-called free-person. It's sick. It's scary.
Where is America headed?

Anastasiya Soldatova said...

Who likes to hear the hidden truth and revealed secrets about themselves? Nobody, especially political and government organizations carrying the weight of responsibility and being viewed and talked about all over. People deserve to know the truth, as well as there is a right to express this truth in democratic society whether somebody likes it or not. Attempts to put on Assange sex crimes and keep him “out of business” just prove the idea that information revealed got to the “nerves”. Wiki Leaks deserves the right for word, to be heard and known. It’s a way of communicating the real days issues without “shiny cover”. Whether the government just takes out the information they want people to know, Wiki Leaks opens a way to find out through media much more truth and facts. Anybody has secrets, it’s nothing bad about that, some secrets are better to be kept for the sake of beings of others. The idea is that lies should be revealed. Public needs to know “both sides of the coin”, not just the one government tries to show.

papilonacia said...

I am against Wilileaks behavior. Some of the exposures are good, still necessaries, others are undeserved. The military records exposed should not have been there. I feel it as a war against our country. In my background, I have next to me 34 years of service in the US Army and still active. War is war and I still have no heard anyone complaining of the benefit that the war we are fighting on your behalf is bringing to you. I am convinced that the public has no idea what the military is doing and at what cost and how necessary it is. I love idealism and dreams but it reminds me of Cuba. Even the simple cards game needs secrets, you do not show your hand to the person that you are playing. States are not different. I am not justifying anyone, I am not attacking anyone, but I think that more than being cool is not enough for me to agree with Wiki and those who favored it and stimulate it. I appreciate every day that we are not being bomb and therefore I am not going to question how we are achieving that. At the end, who question the people that killed my friend? I am literally speaking. I have a friend that has been killed in action and the media does not even show it. Do you want to say thank you? Do you want to jump, for a second, out of the word of the arts and look around to the system that is allowing you to live in the arts? Go and visit Walter Reed Army Medical Medical Center, go to any major post in your way and volunteer at the Fisher House. Come to Green Ramp at Ft Bragg and support the families that stay behind or the single soldiers that have no one waiting on them when they come back. This, I will defend! Still ALL THE WAY!!!

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