Wikileaks and Wikicredulity

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11 Responses

  1. Salem says:

    This was a brilliant post.

    I'd add that the journalistic agenda is not just to get attention, money and prestige – it's often also political. For example, that article you link on Wen Ho Lee is short on sympathy for destroying the poor man's life, and long on whining about how unfair it is that newspapers should have to reveal their sources regarding who libelled him.

  2. David says:

    You're right, Ken. The 400,000 Iraq War documents and 250,000 diplomatic cables might not give a clear picture. They might be the scalpel's edge of an attempt at manipulating us via selectivity.

    It's much easier to believe in a governmental/military conspiracy to affect the geopolitics of Iran than it is to believe that clearance and data access were carelessly granted to a self-indulgent weasel with idle hands and a shallow conscience!

  3. Dan Weber says:

    Access to secret data is an asset, and it can be traded for other assets.

  4. Ken says:

    David, taking into account the volume and breadth of documents released would be an excellent example of critical thinking in determining whether a particular leak is a strategic effort by the government, or a release by a disgruntled government employee.

    But the fact that critical thinking leads us to conclude that one particular leak is not a propaganda effort by the government shouldn't stop us from asking the question in the first place, and shouldn't stop us from asking the question about future releases. Moreover, it shouldn't ask us from attempting to determine whether Wikileaks released everything they got, or whether they held some back for some reason related to their own agenda.

  5. Dan Weber says:

    All 250,000 cables have not been released. Only some have. (And that's assuming that they are being released complete and unedited, let alone not being fabricated. I don't think Assange would fabricate stuff, but as many commentators have pointed out, WikiLeaks is just an abstraction, and others can release stuff on their own.)

  6. SPQR says:

    If fact, I think there are allegations that the Russian "affiliate" of Wikileaks fabricated some content and released it in Russia.

  7. David says:

    No argument with that, Ken.

  8. SeanD says:

    I appreciate the reasonable post on how to process this subject by thinking about it critically – the same can be said for any information/media (my dad was fond of telling me to "read between the lines" well before the advent of the internet age). The hue and cry over this completely obscures the faculties you outline. My sense of it is that another major non-state actor has emerged and that we'll just have to deal with it (though I expect at real cost to the citizenry in terms of hysterical legislation and prosecutions). It somehow feels like a game-changer.

  9. mojo says:

    I'd just point out that leaking and a love of seeing your name in the papers don't really complement each other.

    I think it's clear which is more important to Assange.

  10. Will says:

    One only has to watch Yes Minister to know that governments leak strategically.

  11. Ian says:

    The first go around of wikileaks I beleive was quite the sensation and surprise for all 3 letter agencies. But since then, it doesnt take an intellectual giant to realize that if you ever want to get involved in a global disinformation propaganda team, all you have to do is "allow" some of your faked documents to be "leaked". Does anyone even really believe that some 3 letter agencies arent actively using wikileaks, with moron rockstar/playboy/messiah wannabe Assange completely in the dark about how much of a doof he is? My personal gut feeling is about 75/25 real/fake documents. And the fake I speak of here are professional fakes sent in disguise to Mr. Assange. I am not counting the fakes ones that I guarantee and ego like his will create.