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I don’t like to use the word…

WikiLeaksI don’t like to use the word, but when I read this:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11907641

The word that comes to mind is:

Fascism

I’m sorry, but this is not what is supposed to happen in free, democratic, and open societies. I’m not sure I agree with everything WikiLeaks does nor perhaps its choices of what to release, but openness and freedom of speech is or core value of western societies.

In the end while I agree there is need for some secrecy as well as the need for a degree of liberty for diplomats and others to be able to discuss freely without fear that their comments will become public, ultimately this information does belong to us, the people. We must not forget that.

The almost universal readiness to attack, and vehemence thereof against WikiLeaks (both physically and verbally) shows a profound sickness of what are supposed to be open societies. That’s not to say it is at all unreasonable for some, if not most, to believe that what WikiLeaks is doing is wrong, just that one would expect more balance and less blind allegiance to the will of the state.

It is truly a sad world we live in.

UPDATE:

An interesting thought came to mind in regards to those who blindly trust the state to wield such tools as “torture” with the quip, “If you’re not guilty of something, why would you worry about torture?” My answer is, “If the government isn’t doing anything wrong, then why worry about WikiLeaks?”

Yes, I do know there is more nuance to than that, but the point remains.

UPDATE 2:

Another sad thought comes to mind – that because I wrote the above, I might never be able to get a government security clearance and that at some date in the future I might be officially accused of treason for showing even nominal support of WikiLeaks. While the later is probably unlikely, sadly I don’t think the former is. Regardless, that these thoughts should even come to mind, and I know I’m not the only one by seeing blog comments, shows how ugly state we find ourselves in is. I should not fear repercussion, even mildly, from my government for political viewpoints. That is not how open societies are supposed to work, and that is not the nation I grew up in, nor is it the one our forefathers intended. Quite the contrary – that is what they were fighting against.

UPDATE 3:

Apparently I’m not just being paranoid:

http://www.fastcompany.com/1707699/state-department-reading-wikileaks-could-endanger-security-clearances

UPDATE 4:

Glenn Greenwald has an excellent if depressing running list of willful cogs in the “state” machine here:

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/12/06/wikileaks

Note again there’s nothing wrong with believing that WikiLeaks is wrong here – I get that. What is concerning to me is the number of people willing to voluntarily do the government’s dirty work without question. This reeks of a mob mentality, and while WikiLeaks may have been at some level asking for what it’s getting. what happens when someone truly innocent gets to wear the “Scarlet A“?

This isn’t pretty. Again, this isn’t how open societies are supposed to work.

UPDATE 5:

Digby correctly points out why this isn’t just an attack on WikiLeaks, but free press in general. In fact if the media worked normally, we’d all know this, rather than having a very curious double standard – one for WikiLeaks itself, and another for the New York Times, Guardian, etc. who hold, are helping to redact, and are publishing the same content.

I would also note to all the Obama lovers on the left as well as the Obama haters on the right that this authoritarian love fest is coming courtesy of our so called “liberal” president (or, rather, Marxist/Socialist president for those on the right). With friends like these, who needs Newt Gingrich?

Yes, I know, even a liberal president has to seem to care about state secrets. That said, he’s doing an awful good job pretending.

By the way – I agree there’s a need for secrecy (or in this case, “confidentiality”) and I am highly ambivalent about the release of the latest round of documents. What I don’t like however is mob bullying, and that’s what I’m seeing now. At the risk of invoking Godwin’s law, honestly it reminds me too much of the “brownshirts“.

UPDATE 6:

Adding to my last comment:

At this point it’s hard to see this as “trying to stop” WikiLeaks. The cat is out of the bag as it were (particularly since the NYT et al have the documents). If anything this looks a lot like vindictive punishment, or more likely an attempt to scare away future copy cats.

That’s not the way the United States is supposed to work. We’re not supposed to be the big bad scary “enforcer” brother, we’re supposed to be the “shining light on the hill”, that draws people to our ways by our superior morals and by being better people. We’re supposed to be the good guy who doesn’t need the big stick because, like Jesus, our greatness/goodness itself should be enough of a draw.

Yeah right. Whatever.

I actually believe that’s the way it should work, but that was gone about 40 presidents ago.

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