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Response to Cha (Reply #18)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 10:11 AM

22. Dear Cha, I don't believe that they are informative in the least.

Dear Cha

(I said Dear Cha, because I have such respect for your posts).


The poster is spamming with a deluge of anti Wikipedia material trying to create an atmosphere where the prosecution of Assange in Sweden for rape will be seen as a useful surrogate prosecution for his other bad behavior.

For the record (and I despise that saying) I am not a Wikileaks supporter nor a fan of Assange. Beyond the piecemeal attack of the poster are two much more substantial and systemic criticisms of Wikileaks;

1) They are undisciplined and self promoting in the way that they decimate information. Rather than picking an objective and releasing well screened documents that are aimed at specific policies they are releasing tons and tons and tons of material as a kind of a blackmail attempt at various institutions. I don't like the lack of discipline or purpose but it also results in a lot of collateral damage.

2) More specifically he has released lots of cable traffic among diplomats who were discussing negotiating positions. These communications, like communications with a Priest, an attorney or a doctor, should never see the light of day. Any truly civilized person should see that diplomats need the ability to converse freely about their opinions without the fear that these discussions are going to published. Even if Assange was publishing damaging communications about a bad policy (and the large bulk of Wikileaks actually showed the opposite, how insightful and non parochial the diplomats were) it is not helpful if it causes the general work of diplomats to be less successful. We should give diplomats more tools to eliminate armed conflict and reduce violence, not take any away.

Actually I believe that this spamming of everything about Assange actually trivializes the criticisms of Wikileaks, and in that sense is completely counterproductive. It makes all criticisms of Assange appear as petulant and obsessive as this poster has now become.

There is a much broader and more important issue than Wikileaks now, however. Comparisons have been made between Assange and Daniel Ellsberg. Assange is no Daniel Ellsberg. DE was an inside Pentagon analyst who, after years of supporting the Vietnam policy, sought to have an impact on the policy by first gathering all of the policy history into a unified set of papers so it would have impact on the policy makers, and later on the general public.

In the Pentagon Papers analogy Manning is Ellsberg and Assange is the New York Times.

This is why those in government can prosecute Mannning and not Assange. It is a crime to release classified material, but it is not one to receive it and publish it. That is because of the first Amendment.

So because it is difficult what laws Assange may have broken, and there is no attempt to prosecute him for that, he now is facing rape charges.

Sweden could state the following; They are going to prosecute Assange for the rape charges and then either punish him or release him. They have not done so. They have indicated that once in custody they plan to extradite him, even if they decide not to prosecute him on the rape charge.

So now progressives are faced with an unpleasant task, being sceptically of a questionable prosecution of a person that they may not like, not like at all.

Because its not about Assange now.

Its about the First Amendment. In a time where the media is become more and more compliant with the right. After they did absolutely nothing to expose the lies that got us into Iraq, and all of the other lies of the Bush administration, we cannot accept any further diminishing of the power of the First Amendment.

Supporting the First Amendment sometimes requires that you have to fight for the rights of some people you don't really like.

In this case it means that you have to be sceptically of the charges brought against the little shit Assange.

And posting dozens and dozens of articles on Wikileaks does nothing to elevate the quality of debate at DU.

By having such an obsessive and unfocused attack on Assange by dozens and dozens of posts the poster is actually immunizing attacks on Assange/Wikileaks on DU. It makes all of the attacks on A/W look shallow and it gives the general readership a "not this shit again" reflex. It is completely counterproductive to what the OP would like to achieve. Sometimes less really is more. In this case it would be a whole lot more.

DU's biggest danger is not becoming too ideologically leftist or too moderate. The real danger to DU is that it becomes trivial and boring. In that field the poster is setting a new standard. If you have a case against Assange and Wikileaks pull all of your facts together and make a comprehensive argument. The fact that in the tens of thousands of releases by Wikileaks you can find some alarming examples (like this OP) is quite irrelevant, really. If the operation of Wikileaks was successful in stopping wars then you would have to accept the bad with the good. The much more important discussion is whether Wikileaks policy actually is helping to stop war or make it more likely.

And finally holding a mirror up to a poster and making sarcastic biting comments about their posts and arguments is not a personal attack. It is a comment on what the OP is posting.

Sincerely,

grantcart

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