READER COMMENTS ON
"Brad Hosting KPFK Tuesday, On WikiLeaks, More..."
(20 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 11/30/2010 @ 5:12 pm PT...
This is no different than the "climategate" crap from last year. Both this knucklehead and whomever released the emails between scientists received their information by questionable means. Funny, when I go back into the archives of thesqueakiestwheel.com I find many mentions of climategate and every one I saw also mentions "stolen emails" or "hacked disinformation" or the like. FAUX SNOOZE ALERT: This is hacked information, or stolen information as well. Private correspondence not meant for public viewing. And yet, in this case, it's supported by you with a don't blame the messenger comment. So, why the different attitude between the two very similar situations?
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
said on 11/30/2010 @ 6:02 pm PT...
Wingnut Steve -
Your points are fair enough. But here's the difference (and there a few of them). 1) These cables are actually those of public officials. The silly "ClimateGate" emails were actually those of private citizens. Yes, both were "stolen" (though there is no evidence that any hacking was involved with the WikiLeaks cables, to my knowledge, FWIW.) and 2) Far more importantly, the WikiLeaks cables are being released in full and have not, to my knowledge, been taken out of context to be reported on (purposely) inaccurately.
Should you find the information in the cables being misused by being taken out of context to forward a political agenda that is completely the opposite of what the cables actually say, I hope you'll let me know. I'll be glad to highlight the liars in the same way I was happy to highlight those who lied about what was actually in the so-called "ClimateGate" emails.
Hope that helps distinguish between the two different cases. Also hope you'll listen to the audio as now posted from today's show, in which we discussed just some of the importance of the WikiLeaks docs and how they reveal, for example, that the U.S. is bombing a foreign country with whom we are not at war, killing civilians in the bargain, with the country in question lying about it to the public, all the while making our country less safe, rather than more safe.
Where you disagree, of course, I'm always happy to hear your thoughts.
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
said on 11/30/2010 @ 6:33 pm PT...
Please consider probing Daniel Ellsberg for his opinion on Whisleblowers like Sibel Edmonds and Mike Connell and see what his viewpoints are on the 9/11 Truth fighters who are currently gaining ground through coverage on the Geraldo Rivera show and Andrew Napolitano show on Fox.
http://www.BuildingWhat.org campaign is what is garnering all this recent attention.
Maybe politely ask him off air if he wants to get into any of that.
Peace Brad. Keep it up and keep rocking!!
Adios. Great to have you on our side of caring about this country and its people.
Looks like former talk show hosts Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, and now Cenk Uyger all got gigs on MSNBC. So there is a chance you can keep moving in that direction. Just don't lose your muckraking self during the process. As much as you can anyway Onward. Peace.
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
said on 11/30/2010 @ 7:53 pm PT...
@ORANGUTAN: Mike Connell? A whistleblower? You need to check your facts a little more carefully- Mike Connell was a perpetrator, and would have been all too happy to steal another election for the Republicans. When he finally was deposed on the day before the 2008 election, it was only after he spent the whole summer ducking subpoenas.
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
said on 11/30/2010 @ 8:01 pm PT...
As ever, thank you for your support and your always very kind words.
In regard Ellsberg's opinion on Sibel Edmonds, at least, he has been a great supporter of hers and has spoken out loudly on her behalf. I first interviewed him in November of 2007 on her case, leading to this story:
EXCLUSIVE: Daniel Ellsberg Says Sibel Edmonds Case 'Far More Explosive Than Pentagon Papers'
A few months later, in January 2008, after we covered Edmonds' offer to tell her story to the mainstream media (at risk of violation of DoJ's two gag orders against her) and after the British media picked things up while the U.S. media ignored it, Ellsberg wrote an original op-ed for us, as posted here:
DANIEL ELLSBERG: Covering Up the Coverage - The American Media's Complicit Failure to Investigate and Report on the Sibel Edmonds Case
Beyond that, of course, I'll get in as much as I can get to in our interview tomorrow. Hope you'll tune in!
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
said on 11/30/2010 @ 9:55 pm PT...
Great show, Brad. Thrilled to have you to turn to @ 3:00 instead of that PILL Gayle King.
COMMENT #7 [Permalink]
said on 12/1/2010 @ 6:04 am PT...
I think you are in the wrong in relation to your apparent support for Assange, and I think I can prove it. In the release of the Afghanistan and Iraq war data, Assange had no idea whether any particular individual might be killed by triangulation of tiny bits of that information. This is reckless. Next, Assange had reasonable alternatives. He could have had experts summarize the information, or wrote about it himself, much like the Pentagon papers. This would have brought meaning to the data, put nobody at risk, and summary would not be challenged because there is information backing up. The general public is not sifting through it. A summary would have been much more effective. The fact there was a reasonable alternative to releasing the raw data, the fact releasing the raw data has little meaning to most people, the fact Assange is recklessly risking lives, puts Assange in the category of a very dangerous person.
I'm sorry to see you not thinking this through, but you're wrong.
COMMENT #8 [Permalink]
Ernest A. Canning
said on 12/1/2010 @ 7:51 am PT...
To Rich @7: Who is recklessly endangering lives: The whistle blower who exposes the lies of the rich and powerful or those who lie us into wars, placing working class American soldiers in harms way?
COMMENT #9 [Permalink]
said on 12/1/2010 @ 9:17 am PT...
I recognize you reflect what many people feel at first glance. What you describe as "placing working class American soldiers in harms way" is perhaps a highest level of summary, a topic sentence Assange might use to explain why Assange or an expert has prepared a summary of the data. I submit Assange has placed working class soldiers in harm's way by placing raw military and intelligence data at the disposal of people who would do them harm. Assange had reasonable alternatives to releasing the data in order to achieve the goals he said he was after. He either did not consider them, which is reckless, or he rejected them, for whatever reasons he might have. What he says those reasons are don't hold water, because he could have used the data, instead of letting the data be used. Risking somebody else's life isn't his call.
Hundreds of thousands of pages of dry numbers and attendant milspeak carry no meaning to most people. I think Assange is untruthful when he declares an interest in an open society, because he has provided data with no meaning to that society, when the meaningful and safe alternative was available. Nobody would challenge a meaningful description of the data, because he has the data to support that description.
Your remark is conceptual, an intellectual abstraction, to the actual hard uses and bad things the raw data allows people who would like to harm working class American soldiers to do, and we see the release of the data has no effect in furtherance of earlier termination of the wars. Working class American soldiers at greater risk, because Assange dropped a dime on them, with no positive societal effect.
Also, if he's so interested in an open society, why is he on the run? Shouldn't he stand still, go to court, and tell the truth as he sees it? Ah, not so brave. Not enough faith in the principles he declares. Not enough faith means he doesn't believe in them. Which is the point. He doesn't believe in the principles attendant to an open society. I imagine he'll talk a game when he's caught.
COMMENT #10 [Permalink]
said on 12/1/2010 @ 12:17 pm PT...
You avert that WikiLeaks/Assange should have "summarized" hundreds of thousands of documents? And that because they had the source data (held, but undisclosed) nobody would have doubted their summary? Really? Kinda the way James O'Keefe "summarized" his secret video tape interviews, but nobody questioned their validity because he held the undisclosed raw video tape which offered the full context (and the reality that his "summary" was complete bullshit?) Really?
I don't know if you're serious in your criticism or merely here to parrot a party line (I'd not be so bold as to guess which party, frankly), but on the presumption that you're seriously concerned about what you state to be, where is the evidence to back up your suggestions that Assange was "recklessly risking lives"?
The Pentagon itself said, in their review following WikiLeaks' Afghan War log dump that there was (via AP) "no evidence that the disclosure harmed U.S. national security or endangered American troops in the field."
Moreover, in the release of the next documents, the Iraq War logs, WikiLeaks is said to have both shared the info w/ the Pentagon before release, worked with them on what should be redacted, and did in fact redact names where individuals might have been put at risk. Some of those same docs were similarly released by the NYT at the same time, but without redaction. So how WikiLeaks the irresponsible party there? Versus the NYT?
As to what appears to be "the party line", the notion you suggest that the public is not paying attention to the leaked info seems simply preposterous. We've had all sorts of information conveyed to the public by the media, as coming from those cables, and new revelations from them have continued every day since their release as more folks in the public sift through them for valuable information.
Your comments here are most welcome, but they ring much like propaganda, rather than reality, meant to convey a message to those who aren't paying attention very closely. For those of us who are, there seems to be little --- actually no --- substance to back up your suggestions, and quite a bit of information, in fact, to directly contradict those assertions.
COMMENT #11 [Permalink]
said on 12/1/2010 @ 1:08 pm PT...
Brad, you ask for proof that the disclosures were risking lives. Official statements from the government have indicated that they are putting lives at risk. I have no doubt that you consider that to be complete utter bull$h!t.
In the next paragraph you state as proof that this guy hasn't endangered lives, statements from the Pentagon!!! Sweet!
It's ridiculous trying to keep up with your twisting of information, logic, etc. to fit your flavor of the month ideology.
Stealing emails from scientists which seemingly indicate that warming may not be all you make it out to be is wrong. And the statements contained in those emails you disagree with are untrue. Because others who believe the same as you say so.
Stealing secret government documents and disclosing that information for all to see is a-ok! Hey don't shoot the messenger, that other stuff was from private citizens but this is from GUBMINT types so it's ok.
It'd be nice to see you take a position and apply it equally to all. Doubt that's ever gonna happen though.
BTW, you're the only person I know of who's obsessed with O'Keefe.. get over it dude, he's yesterdays news.
Consider yourself spanked Rich. You see, you're supposed to genuflect, not question nor make opposing points..
COMMENT #12 [Permalink]
said on 12/1/2010 @ 1:11 pm PT...
One more point I should also add, when it comes to picking and choosing what's important and what's not in a "summary" of the raw data, as you suggest should have been done. It was originally reported, by the NYT I believe, that the cables showed that China was selling long-range missiles to Iran. Disturbing!
But now, as it turns out, we learn that the rest of the cable --- which was, for some reason, NOT reported by the NYT --- shows that the U.S. embassy official doubted the veracity of that report.
(Apologies for not giving u the links to both stories here, as I'm scrambling to prepare for my interview with Ellsberg in an hour or two. Its easily found, however.)
That's what raw data allows us to find out. Had we had some of that in the run up to the war in Iraq, for example, there might have been about another 5,000 Americans alive today (along with 100,000+ Iraqis, mostly civilians).
So is it the release of such information which endangers lives? Or the lack of release of such information which endangers lives?
COMMENT #13 [Permalink]
said on 12/1/2010 @ 1:15 pm PT...
My apologies that I have time at the moment only for the briefest of replies. Happy to pick up more later. You said:
Stealing emails from scientists which seemingly indicate that warming may not be all you make it out to be is wrong. And the statements contained in those emails you disagree with are untrue. Because others who believe the same as you say so.
Has nothing to do with "what others who believe the same as [me] say", though I'll presume you're referring to the 3 or 4 different independent inquiries which all found there was no manipulation of data or wrongdoing by the scientists. If they shouldn't be believed, you'll have to explain why.
Nonetheless, what email "indicate[d] that warming may not be all [I] make it out to be"? Feel free to let us know!
COMMENT #14 [Permalink]
said on 12/1/2010 @ 5:12 pm PT...
The Pentagon Papers was essentially an expert summary, a description in meaningful form, with appropriate quotes. I read it, probably before you were born. As for party, I worked on the McGovern presidential campaign. I doubt Ellsberg included sensitive details, the most powerful portions were interviews. And yet the Pentagon Papers made a difference. I don't think either the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan will be one minute shorter, not one less person will die, because of what Assange did.
The Pentagon looked it over, you say or Assange says, and they are happy with the release, then? They had a year or two, the minimum a staff would need, to analyze and cull the information for the tiny bits foreign intelligence professionals would use to piece together the source of the most minute information, leading to potential exposure of intelligence sources, then? I don't think so. Assange probably dumped it on them a little beforehand to make himself look more reasonable. Hundreds of thousands of pages, and there's absolutely nothing in there, not the tiniest bit of information, which could put an individual at risk? I don't think so.
What about summary don't you get? Of course a summary can mention selling missiles to Iran. You make it seem like nobody can talk about that without everybody having access to the raw data. Ridiculous. Does anybody require the rawest data, personal observation of every detail, in order to conceptualize what's going on in a world of six billion people? Of course not. Nobody could do that. And yet you say this is required in order for us to determine the validity of the documents. Uh-uh. That's not how evidence priority works. Assange has the documents, we know that. He or some expert who has reviewed them, says what's in them. Who is it that matters, someone who is not Ann Coulter for instance, will challenge someone like Robert Scheer, call him a liar, which would invariably require him to produce Assange's material in such a manner that it cannot be denied, and yet with the raw data still unexposed? Like through a federal judge or something, any number of credible methods.
Assange is a convicted black hat hacker, not exactly moral activity. His former handle meant "nobly untruthful". Doesn't look like he's changed much. I think maybe you're just excited. You are certainly associating yourself with the kind of programmer's mentality where A to Z simply requires a gosub to cover the alphabet. No need for all the silly letters in between. I think, I'm not sure, but I think you're jumping the shark, going to take a credibility hit in the public's subconscious, because Assange isn't right in the head.
COMMENT #15 [Permalink]
said on 12/1/2010 @ 8:21 pm PT...
What about summary don't you get? Of course a summary can mention selling missiles to Iran. You make it seem like nobody can talk about that without everybody having access to the raw data. Ridiculous.
Perhaps you missed the point of my comment on that. It was reported, by the NYT, that China gave long-range missiles to Iran. Pretty serious stuff. THEN, when others were able to review the actual raw data, they were able to see that, in fact, China may not have done so. At least the diplomat who says that report was bullshit didn't think so and, happily, we now know that, and don't need to regard that as a threat to our national security.
Of course, we can always rely on those "summaries" for national security issues, like the ones that told us Iraq had WMD, aluminum tubes for nukes, and maybe even yellowcake uranium from Niger. Of course, had the nation had access to all of the available intelligence on those matters, they'd have seen, for example, that Saddam had no WMD after 1991, that many in the intel community didn't believe the aluminum tubes were suitable for nukes, and that the entire story about Yellowcake was bullshit (as, thankfully, Joe Wilson let us all know later, only to see his wife hit with a leak that exposed her identity as a covert CIA agent, killing her network overseeing WMD in the Middle East --- of all things --- by the very same Administration who decreed leaks, preferring only "summaries" that suited their ambitions.)
So, yes, call me a transparency guy, but I'm all in favor of raw data to be perused by the public on whose behalf the privileged few who generally get to see that raw data are supposed to be acting.
Does anybody require the rawest data, personal observation of every detail, in order to conceptualize what's going on in a world of six billion people?
Make that six billion minus a few hundred thousand, after we didn't get to see that "rawest data" before the last couple of wars we needlessly entered. Oh, and then there's the several new wars we're now in which, if left to the "summarizers", you can bet would be denied from top to bottom.
And yet you say this is required in order for us to determine the validity of the documents. Uh-uh. That's not how evidence priority works.
Actually, don't believe I said it was "required". Rather, I offered you several examples of how that data can be manipulated when it's not available in raw form for folks to dig into in order to verify the validity of the "summaries". That's why I try to provide as much raw information, documents, audio, video, etc. with any report, even when I provide a "summary" of it in the news article or blog item itself.
Not sure why you're having a difficult time understanding that, or my comparison to how O'Keefe did exactly what you're calling for, by "summarizing" his ACORN bullshit and withholding the raw data. Hopefully my comparison to Bush and the Iraq War will make a bit more sense to ya, if not.
In either case, I hope you'll listen to my interview with Ellsberg (and the subsequent article I'm working on, based on it, and the additional conversation we had off air after the show), as he speaks to some of these same issues. Feel free, of course, to take potshots at him as well, if you like. That's up to you.
I think, I'm not sure, but I think you're jumping the shark, going to take a credibility hit in the public's subconscious, because Assange isn't right in the head.
I know nothing about Assange, other than what I've read about him, and learned from folks who know him personally. I've offered no opinions on him or his character. The discussion is about the information that has been released and it's value (or lack thereof). Your assertion about my "credibility" in the wake of that, of course, is just silly. But knock yourself out.
COMMENT #16 [Permalink]
said on 12/1/2010 @ 9:54 pm PT...
Iran is not a threat to your national security even if they had nuclear weapons. Iran hasn't invaded another country in over 300 years. "Others" would like to invade Iran though and keep pushing that meme. Listen to George Galloway explain this to a caller.
I am still not sure if all these leaks have an ulterior motive or not. Keeping an open mind though.
COMMENT #17 [Permalink]
said on 12/1/2010 @ 9:55 pm PT...
COMMENT #18 [Permalink]
said on 12/1/2010 @ 9:56 pm PT...
COMMENT #19 [Permalink]
said on 12/2/2010 @ 8:58 am PT...
I think you're talking about something else. At a minimum, you have converted my meaning of summary by associating it with those would lie about underlying material.
"Of course, we can always rely on those "summaries" for national security issues, like the ones that told us Iraq had WMD, aluminum tubes for nukes, and maybe even yellowcake uranium from Niger."
Robert Scheer would not, and did not, say these things or summarize them as such even if he did not have the raw material. If Robert Scheer had the raw information pertaining to these issues, he would not say the raw material is different from what he sees. If Robert Scheer had been given control of the documents, the wars might very well end sooner and lives be saved by proper and judicious use of them. Because Assange took control of the documents and dumped them on everybody, simultaneously absolving himself of any responsibility for what happens next, nothing meaningful will happen because the documents in raw form have no meaning to most people. Someone like Scheer can bring them meaning. I saw an article by Scheer in relation to the Wikileaks release of the diplomatic cables. He brought meaning to them. Unfortunately, he's just another guy in this story. However, if he was the front end for the documents, and not Assange, who initially takes the front end and then heads for the hills, all eyes would be on the content of what Scheer says, which is the content of the documents and the meaning he brings to them. As it stands, the corporate media doesn't quite know yet what to do with the wikileaks release. When they figure out that the secret to dealing with the release is to treat Assange like everybody else who comes into their crosshairs, personalize Assange as the bad guy, for which there is ample evidence, any documents released by Wikileaks can henceforth be swept into the political wastebasket as far as the voters are concerned. Assange, by not allowing responsible professionals liek Robert Scheer to handle the documents, has ruined a great opportunity.
I'm afraid that your responses tend to indicate that the points I am trying to make are too delicate for you to either grasp or that you are too committed to henceforth acknowledge any of them. I have no problem with someone obtaining raw dangerous documents or releasing their contents, provided it is done through a responsible filter, who releases the meaning of their contents to shield the people and things that he or she does not and cannot know might be affected by them. I have a big problem with putting people at risk and not achieving any meaningful goal in the process. I am annoyed that it is too easy to do the right thing in relation to those documents, and Assange did the wrong thing every step of the way. If Robert Scheer- I keep using him because I admire his professionalism- had the documents, not only would a lot of good things be happening in the real world instead of the blog world, the analyst who handed them over might not be going to prison and Assange would be in the right position of simply being a helpful person in the world rather than a dangerous one.
As an example of delicacy that is difficult to grasp, and is therefore indicative of many other things that show what Assange has done is dangerous to lives, let's assume the Pentagon had years and hundreds of people working on the documents relating to the Afghan and Iraq wars prior to Wikileaks release of them. Other than removing nearly everything, even the Pentagon cannot scrub the documents for what may be potentially dangerous, because they have no idea what information opposing experts have with which to triangulate with whatever raw information is provided to them.
What's going on here is a lot of mucking about by loose-minded libertarian mindsets, threatening to topple what little organization the world has managed to achieve to date, when the superior organization we would rather achieve is achievable by more sophisticated thinking given the technological opportunity to effectuate meaningful change. Instead what we're likely to get is another Bushadmin-style security clampdown. The governments of the world, even the liberal social democracies, can and will handle wikileaks, because wikileaks is irresponsible. They have no choice.
COMMENT #20 [Permalink]
said on 12/2/2010 @ 7:18 pm PT...
I "acknowledge" everything you're saying. I simply --- and fervently --- disagree with most of it. No, it's not too "delicate for [me] to grasp", nor is your "more sophisticated thinking" the problem here. The problem is that I beleieve you are wrong, elitist and, ultimately, far more dangerous than the Assange character you've attempted to create for us all here (the one you've described here, in the way you have, for whatever reason.)
Bob Scheer is a swell fellow. But the notion that one man --- or even a large group of Scheers --- would be able to "filter" through hundreds of thousands of documents to tell us unsophisticated, indelicate types what we need to know is both absurd, and belied by your very own words. At the end of your note above, you assert that even had the "Pentagon had years and hundreds of people working on the documents relating to the Afghan and Iraq wars prior to Wikileaks release of them...even the Pentagon cannot scrub the documents for what may be potentially dangerous".
So Robert Scheer, a fine, if largely obscur-ish columnist of your choosing should be given the task to successfully complete what even hundreds of Pentagon officials working for years could not? That's your plan??
And even if you selected 50 such Scheers or 100 or 1000, and even if they could have worked years to overcome the dangers you tell us cannot be overcome anyway, why should I have to trust you or any of those Scheers?
I am frequently asked: "Brad, you run a blog, why should I trust you and your reporting?" My answer is always the same: "You shouldn't. Make me prove everything I report. There is no reason to trust me. But do me a favor and make NYT, AP, WaPo and all the rest prove their case as well, since there is no reason to merely trust them either!"
There is no excuse, in this age of the Internet, to not post the source documentation of what one is reporting on, unless there is a necessity to protect a source or some such. As much as I like Scheer, I see no reason to trust him about anything, particularly when there is no need to do so. He can report on a document, and allow me to examine that document for myself to verify that his reportage is accurate.
Furthermore, WikiLeaks did precisely what you suggested with every such major release so far. They gave the documents to "trusted" news organizations like the NYTimes, the UK Guardian, etc. in advance. (And, btw, that "trusted" news organization, the NYTimes, released many of those documents without redacting the name of certain sources, unlike WikiLogs who did redact that sensitive information when they released the very same logs.)
You also seem to have skipped right over the point I made about the trusted news/filter organization, the NYTimes, having reported on China giving missiles to Iran, but having failed to note --- either on purporse or not --- that the charge may be completely untrue as discovered by reviewing the actual source document.
In the end, I have no interest in merely trusting you (as I have no idea who you are, in any case) or Scheer or the NYTimes or anybody else. None of you have earned my blind trust or that of the public's, and I have seen no evidence that the dangers posed by releasing the raw documents as WikiLogs has, has proven to be of any greater risk to our national security, or the world's, than the dangers posed --- and proven, decade after decade, war after war, hundreds of thousands dead after hundreds of thousands dead --- by not releasing such documents to the public.
As this discussion began, I have given you the benefit of the doubt that your concerns are sincere, but simply misguided, and I continue to do that, despite your bizarre, and repeated fascination with describing Assange as "dangerous" and all manner of other descriptions clearly intended to discolor his reputation and his credibility. Despite your curious interest in that, for whatever reason you have it, the lovely thing is that we don't have to trust Assange either. The documents speak for themselves, and there seem to be hundreds, if not thousands, of Robert Scheers combing through them and reporting on them every day as more and more of the latest document dump is published.
Sorry if that's too indelicate for you, or too "loose-minded" and "libertarian" for ya. But it's just fine by me. And if you simply can't handle it, then it's time to face the fact that the days of your filter and your control over my world, our world, are now gone.
With the presumption still that your opinions are truly yours, as opposed to representing something more nefarious here, we'll just have to agree to disagree. With all due respect, and my best wishes for whatever it is you wished your world could be. I'm sorry --- for you, anyway --- that it isn't.