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  • Technorati: graph / links

    Liberty: the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear


    by Sunny
    1st December, 2010 at 11:02 pm    

    Says Jamie K:

    If you think that someone should be killed for insulting the prophet Mohammed then you’re a dangerous extremist. If you think someone should be killed for causing mild inconvenience to the Secretary of State – peace be upon her – then you’re a presidential candidate.

    Meanwhile, some blog is generally going on about how Wikileaks are such bastards for having the temerity to publish confidential information.

    I mean, god forbid that anyone even begin to challenge US “national security”. Can’t have that can we?


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    55 Comments below   |  

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    1. sunny hundal

      Blogged: : Liberty, the right to tell people what they don't want to hear http://bit.ly/grxGPh


    2. Tom

      “@sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Liberty, the right to tell people what they don't want to hear http://bit.ly/grxGPh” > quite. Fuck Clinton.


    3. Louise Sheridan

      RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Liberty, the right to tell people what they don't want to hear http://bit.ly/grxGPh




    1. Shamit — on 1st December, 2010 at 11:11 pm  

      Sunny:

      With all due respect mate, could you please tell me how this leaking has helped the public interest. Was there corruption no? Was there dodgy dealing no?

      There is a reason diplomacy and frank talks happen behind closed doors - it saves lives. Lets take this a step further - say because of these leaks - cooperation between intelligence agenices reduce regarding terrorism - does that help anyone?

      Does it really help that Jordan or Israel or Palestine - that Jordan is working with Bibi and has got agreement from him on land for peace.

      Or does it help anyone right now with the situation in the Korean peninsula - that China is thinking of backing Korean unification.

      I am sorry but Assange’s ego is clouding his judgement - remember when he walked out of the CNN interview because the reporter had the temerity to ask about the rape allegations.

      This bloke is no hero and I am surprised that some are lionising him. You understand politics and policy better than most - so if I am wrong please tell me - because I don’t simply get it.

    2. Shamit — on 1st December, 2010 at 11:25 pm  

      Another key example was the Northern Ireland Peace Process.

      If word leaked out when Tony Blair was meeting with both sides behind closed doors - there would have no trust between the parties and you would definitely not see the peaceful coalition of Unionist and Republicans running the government in Stormont. And people’s lives would have been lost. And this asshole would not have hesitated releasing that as well.

      There is public interest and there is interest among public for gossip. Most sensible whistleblowers and journalists know the difference.

      That is why the world’s leading news broadcaster CNN refused to sign an agreement with Wikileaks - theis assange is a megalomaniac and public interest is not his cause.

      Even with his last release, which he tried to portray as American & British soldiers were killing and torturing civilians indiscriminately - when they all came out. All you could accuse our troops were looking the other way and i thought all opponents of the Iraq war wanted us to look the other way and leave - and thats exactly what happened in Basra?

      This guy gives me the creeps.

    3. Sunny — on 1st December, 2010 at 11:46 pm  

      This guy gives me the creeps.

      I’m afraid that’s not an argument.

      You might not think it is in the public interest - but the US government is actively trying to shut down WikiLeaks and put the guy behind bars.

      I think that’s a much bigger fucking issue that stupid discussions about whether it is in the public interest or not.

    4. Shamit — on 1st December, 2010 at 11:59 pm  

      Sunny -

      I made quite a few valid arguments and you took one line out of it and trying to paint me as an irresponsible idiot.

      Sorry I think you are not making any valid arguments on this one.

      There is an espionage act which could be applied in this case for having classified documents - and if they can get a grand jury indictment they can ask for extradition which most countries except for Venzuela and some others would be happy to support.

      Once again, his actions are putting lives at risk - again show me where is the public interest?

      In fact there is none. Alternatively a case could be made that his actions are jeopardising public interest

      Once again, would it have helped if it leaked that Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness was meeting with Tony Blair?

      Once again, how does it help coming out with the fact that China is inching closer to supporting a Lorean reunification.

      Once again, how does it help that Kig Abdullah of Jordan behind the scenes is meeting with Bibi and almost has an agreement on land for peace?

      How in the world does revealing this help public interest?

      It does not - and you are the one who is failing to make a valid argument - and the US Government is spot on.

      There is a reason why diplomatic cables are secret- how does it matter in the public interest that Gaddafi has a hot Ukrainian bloinde nurse.

      Come on - if I am wrong explain to me why.

      Trying to paint these documents as equivalent to Pentagon papers is just bollocks.

    5. Shamit — on 1st December, 2010 at 11:59 pm  

      Give me a good reason why this is a good thing for the world. Convince me.

    6. Scooby — on 2nd December, 2010 at 12:06 am  

      Priceless. You can probably guess what Hundal thinks about the likes of Redwatch “causing mild incovenience” to left-wing activists by publishing information that wasn’t even “confidential”. But that doesn’t seem very different to what Wikileaks has done with regard to those working with NATO in Afghanistan to defeat the Taliban.

    7. Refresh — on 2nd December, 2010 at 12:54 am  

      A Wikileak prior to Bloody Sunday could have saved thousands of lives.

      Agreements behind the backs of the people ie without mandate are worthless and its always better to have a citizenry who are well informed rather than shepherded, misinformed and distracted.

      In reality what Wikileaks seems to have done is provided source material for most of what we have known and/or suspected. It has also shown how messed up the world really is.

      Those of goodwill will now be better informed and subsequently be better armed when seeking the truth, and that can only strengthen democracy. In all countries, the people will measure their politicians against a higher standard. And be in a position to ridicule with supporting material.

      I do not see this as an anti-American leak, it just so happens that the US is the ‘central global authority’ and therefore makes them the obvious repository for all that moves in the lives of nation states.

      In fact the leak is against established politics and will prove to be a major weapon against the astronomical levels of corruption that drives the system.

      It seems the next Wikileak may well be about the banking system - now who doesn’t want to be told the truth about that?

    8. Don — on 2nd December, 2010 at 1:04 am  

      I think I’m responsible enough to know about this.

    9. damon — on 2nd December, 2010 at 1:10 am  

      There have to be secure channels of communication between governments.

      I would be against government spying on ondinary people’s phone calls and e-mails too.

    10. Sarah AB — on 2nd December, 2010 at 7:29 am  

      Essentially I agree with Shamit. There’s a place for investigative journalism, whistle blowing etc - but this article (to give one example from the mostly anti wikileaks coverage in the blogosphere) seems to raise some useful points.

      http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/9953/

      Sunny at 3 - if wikileaks and Assange are breaking the law then I don’t see why they shouldn’t be shut down/prosecuted.

      I’m not sure why, when even Andy Newman isn’t keen on wikileaks, HP has to be invoked, yet again.

    11. Sunny — on 2nd December, 2010 at 7:36 am  

      Shamit - it doesn’t look like you’ve bothered reading any of the revelations so I won’t bother discussing this any further with you.

      . You can probably guess what Hundal thinks about the likes of Redwatch “causing mild incovenience” to left-wing activists by publishing information

      haha! This is precisely the sort of idiocy I expected in response.

      OMG LIVES ARE THREATENED BY WIKILEAKS! LOOK AT THOSE POOR DIPLOMATS!? WHO WILL THINK OF THEM??

      that’s completely the same as publishing someone’s home address and inciting others to kill/hurt them.

    12. Sunny — on 2nd December, 2010 at 7:59 am  

      Could you explain what law has been broken here Sarah?

    13. Shamit — on 2nd December, 2010 at 8:01 am  

      “Shamit – it doesn’t look like you’ve bothered reading any of the revelations so I won’t bother discussing this any further with you.”

      Actually I did - and I pointed them out.

      Which ones you think are most revealing. - the one where the US/Brits had to stop a coup in Pakistan, or that people are worried about Pakistan’s nuclear weapons - or Prince ANdrew or the gossip about Mervyn King or Putin being the alpha dog - tell me something that I don’t know. Or which one about Clinton asking her diplomats to spy on other delegations in the UN - you think that is news. What is so revealing in this that the world did not suspect or makes the world a better place?

      Lionising Assange as some real truth seeker is way way off the mark and he should bloody rot in jail

    14. Sunny — on 2nd December, 2010 at 8:03 am  

      And to reiterate - anyone who thinks these leaks don’t really constitute news or aren’t in the public interest haven’t bothered reading them.

      And that goes for Frank Furedi too. I’m sure HP will be pleased to be on the same side as Andy Newman on this issue.

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/01/wikileaks-cables-cluster-bombs-britain

    15. Sunny — on 2nd December, 2010 at 8:05 am  

      Not to mention the revelations over Gary McKinnon.

      Shamit - sorry mate but don’t bother. You’re out of your depth here.

    16. Sunny — on 2nd December, 2010 at 8:07 am  

      “Kremlin relies on criminals and rewards them with political patronage, while top officials collect bribes ‘like a personal taxation system’”

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/01/wikileaks-cables-russia-mafia-kleptocracy

      Who the hell wants to know this? What we really need is more news about the snow and xfactor! That is what really matters people. That bastard Julian Assange, messing up the news agenda.

    17. Sunny — on 2nd December, 2010 at 8:11 am  

      “WikiLeaks cables link Russian mafia boss to EU gas supplies”

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/01/wikileaks-cables-russian-mafia-gas

      Really, who cares about this stuff? What we need to discuss here is how anti-American Julian Assange is. Why does he hate the US so much? Perhaps people could be polled on how the US govt should assassinate him?

    18. Shamit — on 2nd December, 2010 at 8:12 am  

      No no no - I think none of this is new.

      Secondly, most of these are opinions of diplomats - not hard facts but assessments such as that the only reason David Miliband got involved in the human rights aspects of the Sri Lankan civil war was due to the political compulsions.

      - or litvenko killing was authorised by Putin - again another opinion - something the whole world suspected.

      Sunny - I am not out of my depth - I think your judgement is being clouded by your ideology and this romantic version of activism and transparency. We live in the real world - could it be you may be out of depth on this one.

    19. Shamit — on 2nd December, 2010 at 8:14 am  

      Gary Mckinon - the Prime Minister of the day was trying to cut a deal to save the face of our strongest ally while protecting the interests of a British citizen.

      Wow big news - the bloke was doing his job and now he has got egg on his face and hopefully next time a PM is not too careful protecting British citizen’s interest

    20. Sarah AB — on 2nd December, 2010 at 8:39 am  

      Sunny - I said ‘if’ - I have no idea whether he has broken any laws or not in relation to wikileaks - it is not a story which I have followed in great detail (though what I have read of the revelations doesn’t seem that surprising).

      To take one example - the Putin story - my instinctive sense is that this story is not a great shock but that nothing much can be gained from these informal judgements being aired - more is probably to be lost. People have been allowed to air their views about Putin in their capacity as private individuals - and such views I’m sure take in most of the new allegations - but what is the particular benefit in showing that diplomats may take such views seriously too?

      I’ve now looked it up and it seems that JA could be prosecuted under this act.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Espionage_Act_of_1917

      The act has apparently been seen as controversial - it’s exactly the kind of thing criticised in Liberal Fascism - which I’m reading at the moment with mixed feelings after reading this post which is of course relevant to this topic!

      http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/10603

    21. Rumbold — on 2nd December, 2010 at 8:47 am  

      I am somewhere between Shamit and Sunny on this. Absolute freedom of information is not a good thing- for example, the DWP shouldn’t publish the addresses of everyone who receives benefits, otherwise violent partners may be able to track down their victims. You also want to be able to conduct meetings with people like the IRA/Taliban without the publicity scuppering that.

      I haven’t read all the cables, but heard that some may have put some human rights activists in danger (which was also a failing of the Afghani ones, which Naadir pointed out).

      Have said all this though, most of the cables don’t breach national security or people’s safety. Everyone knows already that people make snide remarks about each other in private. I doubt anyone cares, whatever they say it public. And exposing cover ups is a good thing.

      On Wikileaks- of course the US is trying to shut it down: they are publishing classified US material. If they didn’t then anyone could leak classified information without fear of a response. What is the US supposed to do? Tell people they don’t care?

    22. Sarah AB — on 2nd December, 2010 at 9:11 am  

      Although one of the most serious aspects of all this was the endangering of people in Afghanistan (Afghans and Brits) I do remember thinking that some of the larger points revealed in that wave of leaks *was* in the public interest - but it would seem better to publish a more conventional report (in a newspaper or elsewhere) rather than release the unfiltered info.

    23. Rumbold — on 2nd December, 2010 at 10:28 am  

      Sunny:

      Wikileaks can use the public interest defence for some of the cables- but not all of them. To paraphrase, what is in the public interest and what interests the public is not always the same thing. Knowing what diplomats think about a ruler isn’t in the public interest (nor it is a breach of national security- that is just silly).

      I would proesucte them over any cables that endangered the lives of people mentioned in them, espcially human rights activitis or dissidents.

    24. Shamit — on 2nd December, 2010 at 1:08 pm  

      In 1993, the Israeli - Palestinian accord was signed in the Whitehouse based on secret negotiations in Oslo for over a period of 18 months.

      If that leaked while the negotiations were going ahead it would have scuppered the deal - just like it would have scuppered the deal in Northern Ireland.

      All negotiations in diplomacy and in resolving conflicts require compromises - which are far more difficult to do when commentators put their own wild spin on things.

      For example, the only country in the Middle East which wants to use bombing as the last resort and exhaust diplomacy before that option is used against Iran, according to the cables seem to be Israel. But as usual, Seamus Milne put a spin on it cursing Israel as the war monger.

      And, leaked documents fail to provide context as proven many many times - and any attempt to portray Assange as Daniel Elsberg is complete bollocks - the government in the case of Pentagon Papers were openly lying about a policy and the war effort. Now, its impossible with 24/7 real media covering every aspect every day.

      Finally, Sunny’s claim of protection of freedom of press is commendable but is misplaced in this context. How? A media organisation - be it a blog such as PP or eGov monitor or Guardian bears responsibility for everything it publishes and has to account for the editorial decisions they make. And PP did not publish the list of BNP memebrship and was right not to do so.

      In this case, while Wikileaks claim to be a media organisation, it has failed to demonstrate any editorial responsibility towards Good of society.

      Comparing Wikileaks revelations about opinions from diplomatic cables to Telegraph publishing MPs expenses is just simply bollocks.

      Also if the editor of Telegraph or Guardian or NY Times or any other media outlet were accused of rape charges they would have to step down or step aside until those charges were dropped or name was cleared by courts of law. So again equating Teleggraph with Wikileaks is naff to say the least -

      Finally, where does public interest stop and aiding and abeting enemies begin? This organisation has already published names of people collborating with US led coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      So, if by chance, Wikileaks found out by leaks where US nuclear submarines are - would that be in public interest?

      And as for Refresh’s argument - sorry the real world does not work that way. hardlineres would scupper any compromised deal and anyone who does not see that is plain old living in a dream world.

      Also, most often, the public says they want to hear the truth but when politicans tell unpalatable truths - their support drops.

      Iain Pasley, David Trimble and Gerry Adams would have flipped and would have been castigated as traitors if their negotiations became public in the initial stages. And how the hell would that have served the world or the United Kingdom?

      Neither these documents nor those released before produced anything which shows that governments acted deliberately to mislead people or take actions which go clearly against the values of our society. So what’s new? The answer is nothing.

    25. Shamit — on 2nd December, 2010 at 1:19 pm  

      How does it help in the current context that Americans and the British had to work behind the scenes to ensure political stability in Pakistan?

      Guardian - New York Times - Le Monde - are all loss making papers and readerships have fallen massively over the past few years. Could it be a cynical way of boosting circulation and visitors to their website?

      What is laughable about the position of some of the journalists and activitsts (and i am not saying only Sunny) is - if the Mirror does it by tampering voice mails - somehow its not right then it is definitely not public interest and Andy coulson should be jailed.

      But when wikileaks and an alleged rapist does it - we must all protect him and his dodgy organisation - oh please give me a break.

      I disagree with Sunny’s position but I do not question his integrity (but I do question the Guardian’s) and I respect his position. But I do thoroughly disagree.

      Its almost bordering on hypocricy - if coulson and his team were wrong so was Wikileaks. You can’t have it both ways.

    26. Kismet Hardy — on 2nd December, 2010 at 1:32 pm  

      All that’s going to happen now is less things are going to be documented in case there are further leaks, which will mean more men in dark suits in dark rooms making dark decisions that will never be recorded but acted upon regardless. Sinister times are ahead

    27. Shamit — on 2nd December, 2010 at 1:41 pm  

      spot on Kismet Hardy

    28. MaidMarian — on 2nd December, 2010 at 2:02 pm  

      I’m not a massive fan of Tony Benn. However his view of those in power seems to me to be relevant here. He says that we must ask of those in power:

      What power have you got?
      Where did you get it from?
      In whose interest do you exercise it?
      To whom are you accountable?
      And how can I get rid of you?

      How that applies to Wikileaks is anyone’s guess.

      It has to be said that whilst it is clear to me how all this is in the interests of media groups, it is not totally clear to me what the public interest is.

    29. anon — on 2nd December, 2010 at 2:55 pm  

      Didn’t Sunny attack Gita Sahgal for going public about Amnesty’s links to Moazzam Begg?

    30. harith — on 2nd December, 2010 at 3:15 pm  

      Sunny Hundal: You might not think it is in the public interest – but the US government is actively trying to shut down WikiLeaks and put the guy behind bars.

      I think that’s a much bigger fucking issue that stupid discussions about whether it is in the public interest or not.

      There are some good reasons to justify Assange and Wikileaks. Unfortunately this is not one of them. In an age when the world’s politicians behave without the check of public accounatibility, phenomena such as wikileaks will appear to fill that void. The only people who seem to be unduly concerned by these revelations are a bunch of hapless diplomats and conservative nationalists.

      But Sunny is essentially arguing that Assange and Wikileaks is worthy of our support because and only because the US wants to “shut down WikiLeaks and put the guy behind bars”. That’s putting the cart before the horse and is a ridiculous and patently false argumentum a fortiori.

    31. Scooby — on 2nd December, 2010 at 5:38 pm  

      OMG LIVES ARE THREATENED BY WIKILEAKS! LOOK AT THOSE POOR DIPLOMATS!?

      I wasn’t talking about the diplomats, but about the Afghans working with NATO to gather intelligence on the Taliban. But I think you knew that and simply don’t have a credible come-back for your hypocrisy and can only ineffectually wave your hands in response. Sad.

    32. Scooby — on 2nd December, 2010 at 5:48 pm  

      From this article by the Guardian on Assange:

      When I try to question him about the morality of what he’s done, if he worries about unleashing something that he can’t control, that no one can control, he tells me the story of the Kenyan 2007 elections when a WikiLeak document “swung the election”.

      The leak exposed massive corruption by Daniel Arap Moi, and the Kenyan people sat up and took notice. In the ensuing elections, in which corruption became a major issue, violence swept the country. “1,300 people were eventually killed, and 350,000 were displaced. That was a result of our leak,” says Assange.

      Presumably Sunny agrees with this nihilist that misery and death for thousands of Kenyans is just “a mild inconvenience”.

    33. Refresh — on 2nd December, 2010 at 7:21 pm  

      The rest of that quote goes:

      It’s a chilling statistic, but then he states: “On the other hand, the Kenyan people had a right to that information and 40,000 children a year die of malaria in Kenya. And many more die of money being pulled out of Kenya, and as a result of the Kenyan shilling being debased.”

    34. sonia — on 2nd December, 2010 at 7:31 pm  

      “Guardian – New York Times – Le Monde – are all loss making papers and readerships have fallen massively over the past few years. Could it be a cynical way of boosting circulation and visitors to their website?”

      Loss making or not, along with Der Spiegel these outfits are actually respectable ones, who clearly remember the role of the press in society.

    35. sonia — on 2nd December, 2010 at 7:35 pm  

      its not about wikileaks anyway in the end. this is a world in which information is power.

      and actually what’s interesting is if we weren’t so suspicious of our governments, we wouldn’t need this kind of information revelation to confirm our theories of the kind of statecraft in use. Fundamentally, its not the kind of statecraft we want to have to support, ‘put our name to’. this just highlights the competitive nature of nation-states, and given the crises we are collectively facing, personally, I think its the wrong way to go.

      Now, for ‘change’ theorists, it is easier to make that case.

    36. sonia — on 2nd December, 2010 at 7:35 pm  

      And I’d like to see anyone use the term ‘conspiracy theorist’ to slag off anyone from now on!

    37. Refresh — on 2nd December, 2010 at 7:50 pm  

      ‘And I’d like to see anyone use the term ‘conspiracy theorist’ to slag off anyone from now on!’

      Took the words right out of my mouth!

    38. ukliberty — on 2nd December, 2010 at 8:02 pm  

      Is it in the UK’s public interest to learn that despite signing a treaty banning cluster munitions we continue to provide a home for cluster munitions?

      Is it in Spain’s public interest to learn that its criminal justice system may have been subverted by a foreign power?

      I am sure there is a reasonable position between “don’t publish any leaked documents” and “publish all leaked documents”. WikiLeaks isn’t an unmitigated good nor is it an unmitigated evil.

    39. Scooby — on 2nd December, 2010 at 8:08 pm  

      It’s a chilling statistic, but then he states: “On the other hand, the Kenyan people had a right to that information and 40,000 children a year die of malaria in Kenya. And many more die of money being pulled out of Kenya, and as a result of the Kenyan shilling being debased.”

      I’m sure it’s a shocking revelation previously unknown to anyone that thousands of children die from malaria in Kenya.

      Exactly how does reciting these facts mitigate Assange’s admitted responsibility for 1,300 corpses and hundreds of thousands displaced Kenyans?

      But I forget — they are only Kenyans, lesser peoples with brown skins. What’s the misery of those people worth in comparison with the smug self-satisfaction of middle class Western activists biting the hand that has always fed them?

    40. Scooby — on 2nd December, 2010 at 8:12 pm  

      And I’d like to see anyone use the term ‘conspiracy theorist’ to slag off anyone from now on!

      Exactly which major conspiracies have been revealed by these leaks?

      In fact, the leaks have confirmed that the public pronouncements of US policy-makers are pretty much in agreement with the private assessments they make. So there should be even less basis to conspiracy theorizing than ever.

      The sole achievement of Wikileaks has been to spread suspicion and hostility amongst opposed parties making their reconciliation even harder. I suppose it has also put a smile on the face of anti-American antinomians as well but that is hardly an “achievement” anyone rational would be celebrating.

    41. Refresh — on 2nd December, 2010 at 8:47 pm  

      Scooby,

      a perfect democracy is like the perfect market, requiring perfect knowledge. In both cases that is the ideal, and as such its worth pursuing.

      I said upthread that had we had a Wikileak prior to Bloody Sunday, thousands of Irish and British lives would have been saved; one in the run up to the Iran-Iraq war would have spared a million more; another in the run up to the Iraq invasion would have saved a million (and counting) - assuming of course our MPs and a compliant media wouldn’t have wasted their time calling for fire and brimstone on the messengers.

      In the case of Kenya, why should the people not have material supporting their suspicions? So that they could exercise their democratic right democratically?

      The information so far released is of more use to the ordinary people than those seeking or in power, surely that cannot be a bad thing.

      It’s not dissimilar to the Telegraph’s exposure given to the expenses scandal. Did they not all complain how it undermined standing of Parliament; and debased politics? No thought whatsoever that they might have done it all on their own.

      So we should all get used to it. Assange was the first, and there will be many more in the future. Its just a new set of rules.

    42. Scooby — on 2nd December, 2010 at 8:59 pm  

      I said upthread that had we had a Wikileak prior to Bloody Sunday, thousands of Irish lives would have been saved

      Really? What if it had been WikiLeaked that a Catholic priest had been gun-running for the IRA and helping scout their terrorist attacks — would that have saved thousands of Irish lives? Because it recently emerged that a Catholic priest had been doing just that but the British government & Catholic Church decided to cover it up.

      In the case of Kenya, why should the people not have material supporting their suspicions?

      Sure. And while you’re at it, why should the people not have the names and addresses of sex offenders living in their neighbourhoods? All in the public interest blah blah blah.

    43. Shamit — on 2nd December, 2010 at 9:00 pm  

      Sonia -

      what kind of dodgy state craft are you talking about? I am not getting it.

      In fact, neither US nor Britain comes looking bad in any of this - surprisingly neither does Israel. And the dodgy ones such as Russia are viewed as such.

      And as far as clean politics goes at least in Britain and elsewhere - politics is actually cleaner than ever before - you do not have men sitting in closed rooms deciding who the next PM or President is going to be.

      And the electorate is more sophisticated than the pundits give them credit for - despite the huge surge in opinion polls for Lib Dems - when it came to voting - people went for Tories or Labour. In the last two US elections, people power spoke in volumes - so I don’t get it.

      You seem to be conjuring a conspiracy when there actually nothing of that sort exists. Further, while this intelligence is used to make foreign policy decisions - this is one of many that are used. In the food chain, the people who sent this cable except for the one signed off by the Sec State - the highest rank there was ambassador. These are opinions

      And again Wiki leaks - what revelations did you get out of it? Did it confirm some of your suspicions about western governments - which ones please?

      And what about the point that I have raised consistently on this thread - most complex issues have been resolved when things have been discussed in private - be it hand over of Hong Kong - to Setting up Palestinian Authority - to sorting out East Timor - to forcing US pharmaceuticals giving aids medicine to Africa - to Northern Ireland.

      How does it help the world knowing that King Abdullah of Jordan is working behind the scenes to get a deal with Israel and Bibi is not averse to a land for peace - this information is going to irk Iran, Hezbollash, Hamas and the right wing nutters on the other side - how the hell did this leak help?

      It did not - and continually lionising someone who fails to show basic editorial responsibilities might satisfy activist mentality - but thankfully the world is not run in the Kumbaya spirit. I never drank that cool aid and I never will.

      However, if you can make a reasonable argument on the key question of how does leaking information about negotiations help or naming afghan collborators help - I would be open to it.

      But so far your argument does not stack up.

    44. Refresh — on 2nd December, 2010 at 9:07 pm  

      And presumably such a leak would have been part of the mix, and I would have trusted the public. I do not think its necessary to take sides based on whether the information is inconvenient.

      Let me ponder your last point.

      Nevertheless wouldn’t you want to know which politician is being paid off by whom and which one is beholden to a foreign power?

    45. Shamit — on 2nd December, 2010 at 9:17 pm  

      These are opinions and not hard fact proven truths - in fact some of the leaks and memos show unbelievable lack of nuance - and diplomacy if anything is nuanced.

      Trusting the public on these issues have always failed - because the voice of the majority has always been overwhelmed by the voice of a vocal minority - usually you would get Glenn Beck types on the right and Seamus Milne types on the left - and they spin it so much that public gets confused and the message gets lost. Every major negotiation requires compromise and compromising in the glare of the media is not easy.

      I want transparency but I want our leaders to be able to talk to each other frankly - if Obama calls Hu Jintao a dickhead in private - I don’t think it needs to come out.

      Putting pressure on China about human rights - you do it publicly you lose - or telling India about Kashmir - you do it publicly you lose - however if you do it in private you have more influence.

      For example, if America and Britain was seen to be sorting out the political mess between Zardari, Sharif and Kayani - it would not have done any good and played right into the hands of the extremists. How would that have benefitted the world - pray tell me.

      Good diplomacy is handling situations before they become a crisis - and you can’t do that in public glare. I am sorry that’s how its done in the real world and that’s how it should be.

    46. joe90 — on 3rd December, 2010 at 12:03 am  

      As julian assange put it so much for free speech, land of the free?

      the government of america has hacked and tried to shut down his website, smear campaign has been set in motion with interpol red notices on him, senators calling for him to be executed.

      And this is before he releases leaks on the big banks and their practices.

    47. MaidMarian — on 3rd December, 2010 at 9:37 am  

      Sonia - ‘Loss making or not, along with Der Spiegel these outfits are actually respectable ones, who clearly remember the role of the press in society.’

      What they are doing is not massively different to the NOTW and their hacked phone messages. Would you say that was ok?

      ‘Fundamentally, its not the kind of statecraft we want to have to support, ‘put our name to’. this just highlights the competitive nature of nation-states, and given the crises we are collectively facing, personally, I think its the wrong way to go.’

      Yes, but this is nothing you have, ‘put your name to.’ These are private conversations clearly intended as opinion and provisional thinking. I don’t ‘put my name’ to eco-dogma policy, but I don’t go using that cant as a political stick to beat people.

      These leaks are plainly not statements of policy. Think of it this way - I have an absolute right to criticise the output of the Climate Research Unit, I do not have a right to rifle the filing cabinets for private exchanges as to how they drew their conclusions.

      The public does not have an automatic right to know how people gather, assess and interpret information. Certainly the public has a right to know why their government finally takes a given decision, following internal discussion, and what the consequences of that decision are likely to be. This is the sort of thinking that makes what Alastair Campbell said and in what tone more important to some than the actual decision to go to war in Iraq to some of the more swivel-eyed.

      The point is that this is explicitly almost the opposite of statecraft. It is not in the public interest that these private discussions are leaked - it is very much in the interest of 5 powerful and rich media outlets.

    48. Fun Fun — on 3rd December, 2010 at 11:08 am  

      the government of america has hacked and tried to shut down his website, smear campaign has been set in motion with interpol red notices on him…

      Good grief: can one get more deranged?

      I mean, is Joe90 in receipt of high grade intel that informs him that it was Uncle Sam who DOS attacked (not hacked, FYI) a server?

      Is Joe90 convinced that interpol are the playthings of sinister forces?

      Or is he simply a paranoid conspiracy nut?

      Someone should tell us the troof!

    49. joe90 — on 3rd December, 2010 at 11:12 am  

      post #48

      come out come out where ever you are

      yes you are right its 100% complete coincidence hmmmmm

    50. cjcjc — on 3rd December, 2010 at 12:53 pm  

      I assume Andy Newman hates Wikileaks because it turns out that *everyone* hates Iran?!

    51. Sunny — on 3rd December, 2010 at 3:41 pm  

      There is NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER that WikiLeaks revelations have endangered lives of activists or humanitarian workers.

      Us Sec of Defense: Robert Gates concedes nobody died because of WikiLeaks: http://is.gd/g73Op

    52. Nimnom — on 8th December, 2010 at 11:18 pm  

      “If you think someone should be killed for causing mild inconvenience to the Secretary of State”

      A risible piece of question-begging.

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