Montana Politics

Free Society = Leaky Society

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Congrats to Julian Assange, who by leaking confidential State Department communications has succeeded in doing his best as an Australian citizen to move America yet further in the direction of a police state and a closed society. You’ll notice that you see a lot fewer leaks from the Chinese Foreign ministry. Why? Because it’s a closed society – not quite so easy to pull this sort of thing.

Liberals long criticized George Bush for classifying too many documents. Turns out, they are taking steps to crack down yet further on confidential communications thanks to the tireless efforts of Julian Assange. All he can claim to have accomplished is to have made US diplomacy less effective. I am curious to hear in what way that makes the world a better place.

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The Polish Wolf

7 Comments

  • It's too soon to say what the impact of his disclosures will be. I don't see how you can blame Assange for the reaction (from the US State Dept and the corporate media) his disclosures will get. If the US becomes more of a police state in order to become even more secretive, why is that Assange's fault? If this happens, it proves his point.

    I think all these dirty little and not so little secrets need to be exposed. If spy networks are compromised, roll them up to protect informants. If secret wars in places like Yemen are exposed, they need to be.

    Assange is only doing what the press should be doing.

  • Turner:

    In 1865, the United States secretly supported Benito Jaurez's resistance government in Mexico. If Julian Assange had leaked this fact back then, sabotaging the effort to keep Meixco free of European colonialism, would you have supported him?

    Would you have supported Assange if he had disclosed US diplomatic efforts during the run up to WWII, including secret aid we gave to various countries to defeat the Nazis?

    Would you have support Assange if he had exposed the US efforts to fund and train Afghans who were defending their country from the Soviet Union, probably prolonging the devastating occupation of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union?

    The state occasionally needs to operate secretly. Media outlets have a right to find information, but they ought to do so responsibly. Moreover, by leaking State department documents, Assange is weakening the branch of the US foreign policy apparatus responsible for preventing and finding alternatives to war. Also, in the contest for public opinion, the US is put at a huge disadvantage to countries that have more closed societies. China can do what it needs to throughout the world to secure its interests, but similar US activities are open to the public. Thus, countries know they can strike secret deals with China and have them remain truly secret, whereas they can't make deals with the US that they are not comfortable being open knowledge.

  • You missed my point in a failed effort to be pithy. Julian Assange and WikiLeaks make Chinese-style closed society and government more viable. If a state cannot be open and strong, a circumstance encouraged by Assange's irresponsible behavior, will the guardians thereof choose freedom? Don't bet on it.

  • if i had any faith our government officials were operating with the best interest of this country's people in mind, i would be a bit more critical of these data dumps by wikileaks.

    instead Hillary Clinton has ordered diplomats to collect information on UN officials. that's not just stupid diplomacy, it's dangerous diplomacy, and I'm glad we know about it.

    this isn't WWII. we are not safe as a country precisely because our country has acted with imperial impunity for more than half a century. we are seeing more blowback due to how we operate.

    how do we operate? unmarked graves all over the world due to American imperialism.

    that's what makes us unsafe. that, and an out of control security state that has over 100,000 people with security clearance, giving them access to classified documents.

  • Lizard – admittedly, having diplomats collecting intelligence on UN officials is strange. But I will remind you of two things –

    1. Intelligence gathering until WWII, the point I assume you refer to as 'more than half a century', the State Department was in charge of a great deal of intelligence gathering, and embassies have always been recognized as the centers of a nation's espionage activities.

    2. Imagine our diplomats had succeeded, and the story never broken. In what way is that dangerous? On the other hand, the disclosure of the confidential information does in fact make the world more dangerous, or at least more tense. Thus, Assange took a weird, useless and perhaps inappropriate action and made it into a dangerous one.

    Regarding the unmarked graves, that deserves its own post. Stay tuned.

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