Monday, December 13, 2010


I am still turning Wikileaks over in my mind.

I suspect some people will now choose not to defend Wikileaks because Julian Assange is accused of rape. Except that I think what he is really accused of is consential sex gone bad. The two women he had sex with went with him willingly, undressed and started the process (so to speak) willingly. At some point in one case a condom broke and in the other the woman wanted to stop and Assange didn't. So, I don't think you can call Assange some sort of sexual predator, although I would be willing to stipulate Assange is an asshole of a Bill Clinton degree.

The point is, though, whether Assange's character has anything to do with whether the cables in the latest Wikileaks release are true or not. It puts me in mind of the ACLU defending Nazis (or the KKK) having marches. As long as the Nazis don't violate any laws, don't throw rocks or firebomb synagogues, you kind of have to let them march. That's because you want to make sure that the government couldn't use anti-Nazi rally rules to silence anti war or anti racism protesters. Yet that effort by the ACLU was what has really done them in as a national organization.

So too, I gather American politicians (most notably Hilary Clinton) have been screaming that the Wikileaks release will destroy our ability to conduct diplomacy. I say that being able to say one thing publicly and another privately between government employees and politicians is what gets us bad policy and even into wars. There was one politician I had met years ago and had the rare opportunity to ask him first if he knew protectionist steel policy was bad for the economy (he did) and then why he supported it. He basically admitted it was for the votes (a politician being kind to a student intern). My point being that if more politicians (and for that matter economists) told the truth as they understand it, we would be less happy in the short run but maybe much happier in the long run.

This Wikileaks release exposes the fact that our diplomats don't think much of some politicians in some government, that we spy even on allies as a matter of course, and that some of our allies privately want us to do things they won't admit to wanting publicly. And Yeman agreed to claim credit for things we did. Whoopee.

This release has nothing to do with the much more important financial industry situation, where the industry is fighting many reforms, and many, perhaps most politicians are assisting the financial industry. In other words, this Wikileaks has nothing to do with the most important issues facing us, yet some politicians and some of the media act as though it is the Apocalypse (and almost all the rest talk about it with a sneer).

I suppose that's the point. Wikileaks is a wedge into a world outside our view. With that wedge, we can do one of two things. We can put in more wedges at other places in that shadowy world, or we can kick the Wikileaks wedge out, and forget we ever saw anything.


spork_incident said...

The next release from WL is supposed to deal with a very large bank (thought to be BoA).

Could be fun!


EdHeath said...

Yeah, should be interesting. I envision something like the tapes of the Enron traders talking about sticking it to grandma. I wonder, though, if WL will get anything with conversations with government people. That would be the real prize.