Thursday, October 27, 2011

Slow Strangulation

I recently found out (here) that WikiLeaks, that notorious or glorious site depending on your political proclivities, is probably going out of business by the end of the year. Reason: American financial companies have refused to process donation payments to Wikileaks. After the site published a quarter million state department cables, U.S. credit card and online payment companies decided they were not going to sully themselves with assisting this activity. Their action of course is slow but sure strangulation of the web site. According to its founder, Julian Assange, "If WikiLeaks does not find a way to remove this blockade, we will simply not be able to continue by the turn of the new year." In order to devote the organization's full time to raising money, Assange said that "publication operations" would cease for the nonce.

I'm sorry, but I see this whole affair as quite sinister, and far more threatening than the public service WikiLeaks is performing by outing the State Department and the Defense Department* secrecy.The reason for secrecy is these agencies, which exist on our tax dollars, don't want us to know, obviously, what sort of activities we're paying for. I worked in DoD for over 30 years, and I saw lots of classified material. And I'm here to tell you there was no rational reason for the vast majority of it to be classified. That said, I think the American people generally would be appalled by the kind of things that are being done in their name by our country. That's why Assange is doing a public service shining a light on this stuff.

More on this later.

*Before publishing the diplomatic cables, WikiLeaks had published nearly a half million military documents, some of which were classified, from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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