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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Too Much Transparency?

Most of us have heard about Wikileaks dumping all sorts of classified documents out into cyberspace for everyone to read.

The furor over the dumping exploded like a runaway forest fire. Congressmen shouted ‘terrorism’ at the top of their lungs. Representatives screamed the action was treasonous. Others want to try him for espionage.

In fact, the outrage has been so forthcoming that around the first of December, Wikileaks was taken off numerous sites or servers through which it could be accessed. Paypal even stopped the company’s capability of receiving donations.

I can’t help wondering if a great deal of the protestations might not be more in line with Shakespeare’s “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” Could it be that old husband defense, ‘deny, deny, deny, deny,’ is coming into play?

When a senator calls it a disaster, how much is he referring to the country and how much to himself? How much does he have to hide? Probably a lot more than he wants known.

With all the corporate sleeze; government lies and waste; nosy technology baring all secrets; and hundreds of other scams and swindles swirling about us everyday, no wonder there is so much protesting and posturing.

To be honest, I don’t really know what to think about the whole thing. On the one hand, if people’s lives are placed in jeopardy, then the decision to air the cables was abhorrent. If that’s the case, then charges should be filed.

On the other hand, if they simply relate the gossipy behavior and observations of various individuals, who cares?

Who cares if Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s PM and most prolific braggart, profited from secret deals’ with Russia’s Vladimir Putin regarding energy contracts? What’s new about any country’s upper administration working out sweet deals among each other? We know ninety percent of them are crooked. That’s why this last election removed so many of the old timers who were on the take.

Then there was the cable revealing that during the Bush administration U.S. officials tried to influence Spanish officials to head off court investigations into Guantanamo Bay torture allegations, secret CIA flights, and the killing of a Spanish journalist by US troops in Iraq.

My one question is, why shouldn’t such behavior be shouted from the rooftops? If someone is guilty, they should pay for their crime. On the other hand, you know as well as I that greasing palms with money, favors, or deals goes on every day, not only in Washington, but Mainstreet, USA.

In another cable, according to Robert Booth and Julian Gordon of ‘The Guardian’, a classified directive which appears to blur the line between diplomacy and spying was issued to US diplomats under Hillary Clinton's name in July 2009, demanding forensic technical details about the communications systems used by top UN officials, including passwords and personal encryption keys used in private and commercial networks for official communication.

Why such underhand duplicity? To give us a leg up on other countries?
Then there were inane reports such as the Afghan corruption is overwhelming (as if that is a surprise); Hillary Clinton questioned the president of Argentina’s mental health(who knows why?); the Bank of England’s president played back room politics; or that often, the US ignores British input.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to lose any sleep over stuff like this.
Now I can understand one’s chagrin to learn confidential observations, usually negative, being revealed regarding an individual. Such behavior certainly doesn’t enhance friendship or trust. Perhaps, the individual should have thought twice before putting his comments down on paper.

We’ve all been in that situation, but is it criminal if one repeats lurid gossip?
However, I’m quite sure that somewhere in that humongous batch of cables are some that should not have been revealed, that would indeed compromise the safety of individuals.

So, who do we blame, Wikileaks or the idiot dumb enough to put inflammatory words down on paper?

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