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The Good of WikiLeaks

Thursday, 29 July 2010 11:36
Asan Bibi, 9, sits on a bench as burn cream is applied to her at Mirwais Hospital, Kandahar, Afghanistan. She, her sister and mother were badly burned when a US helicopter fired into their tent in the middle of the night, 10/13/09. (photo: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

Asan Bibi, 9, sits on a bench as burn cream is applied to her at Mirwais Hospital, Kandahar, Afghanistan. She, her sister and mother were badly burned when a US helicopter fired into their tent in the middle of the night, 10/13/09. (photo: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)



Reader Supported News | Perspective

he recent dump of war data/documents by WikiLeaks has been met with two basic reactions:

1) This is the GWOT version of the Pentagon Papers. The truth is out there. Look! Look! - OR -

2) A sigh and roll of media eyes. Nothing new. Nothing "we" didn't already know say pundits, reporters and government officials as they use the "royal we."

The American "we" are not amused - or at least should not be. But don't count on it.

Numbed and dumbed and blinded by sunshine patriots and the tinkling brass of mainstream and cable news, Americans have been sold substandard feckless politicians and trained to accept cognitive dissonance as the real normal.

Let's not view the WikiLeaks dump as our modern version of the Pentagon Papers, but rather as an indictment of the Fourth Estate and political hubris. That is really what it is.

Most of what has been revealed so far is the mundane daily field reports in that sterile impersonal military jargon intended to be reviewed and discussed among those who speak the true language of war. It is not intended for civilian rubes that lack professional accreditation and the sacred magic freedom-defender handshake. It is intended for the owners and their guardians - and that ain't us.

The media must downplay this as old news because they have failed to report the massive number of civilian casualties in any sort of context. Our modern media is part and parcel of the ruling class and an integral piece of the war machine.

"If Americans pulled back and started paying attention to this war, it would become even less popular," a senior McChrystal staffer told Michael Hastings in his Rolling Stone article, "The Runaway General." Hastings was quickly pilloried by a CBS reporter and others who whined about access and trust with commanders etc. etc. They are not concerned about trust with the American people.

The Washington Post recently ran a story, "Top Secret America," about contracting and outsourcing of CIA and other intelligence agencies' roles in protecting America. There was much chatter prior to its release about what it would mean. Once printed, the cable pundits and reporters issued the same, "It's pretty much the stuff WE already knew." Again, nothing to see - move along.

Of course, Tim Shorrock had already published a book in 2008 titled "Spies for Hire," that pretty much told us the same thing. No big media coverage then. Two years later The Washington Post joined the information age and still - crickets.

Are you seeing a pattern here?

The current WikiLeaks revelations show us the price of our so-called war on terrorism, not just the death and maiming of American troops, but the slaughter of Afghans and Iraqis carried out with the most horrendous justification by using "collateral damage" as the description of killing innocent people. This is the perspective of Afghans and Iraqis that has been ignored or demeaned far too long, and perhaps, we might begin to actually hold that conversation in the open now. Perhaps not.

The Obama administration has made it clear that it will go after whistleblowers. They want to look forward, not backward, which is code for "truth and transparency is best left to those who know best" - and that ain't "We The People." Obama appears willing to become Col. Jessep by telling us that we can't handle the truth.

And what of Bradley Manning who stands accused of being the leaker? I recommend this article by Glenn Greenwald that covers a lot of territory about PFC Manning and all the parties involved in this situation. Well worth a read.

How important is WikiLeaks? It is imperative for "We The People." It provides the means and capability for honest whistleblowers to help reveal the crimes and manipulation of the public for the benefit of the powerful and greedy and the death of democracy.

The military will continue to do what it does best: obfuscate, manipulate and escalate without consequence. The government will continue to hide truth, and the media will continue to protect its place at the cocktail party of the elite and ruling class. And "We The People" will continue to suffer at the hands of our corporate owners and what was once called democracy.

In his 2007 documentary, "Sicko," there is a moment when Michael Moore discusses healthcare with some American ex-pats living in France. One of the women says, "In France, the government fears the people but in America, the people fear the government."

Maybe WikiLeaks will receive documents from inside BP that will reveal the full truth of the destruction of the Gulf oil disaster, and the death of 11 people apparently due to lax regulation and plain mismanagement and disregard for human life.

Maybe WikiLeaks can help instigate transparency by deed rather than by lip service.

This was not the equivalent of the Pentagon Papers - but it could become that.

The truth is out there.

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+4 # Guest 2010-07-29 15:00
Does anyone now remember those good old days when we really had responsible media? That was a bit before the embedded BS and the absent media and the partizan media, etc.
+2 # Guest 2010-07-29 15:31
All closed groups have a clique language that is used within the group and whose vocabulary is intended to be more precise within the parameters the groups uses.

Nearly 40 years ago I was drafted and while wasting 2 years of my life in the military I learned the specifics of the various groups I was assigned to.

While the usage is not transparent to the common Joe it is not actually intended to exclude anyone but more so to act as a shorthand helping minimize unnecessary communication. It does tend to confuse anyone listening in till they decode it.
+1 # Guest 2010-07-30 10:48
Thank you John Cory for an essay that is as close to stating the intellectual truth of the USA as could ever be done.

What to do: since the main stream corporate media = the ministry of propaganda, save the TV for public access channels, some public broadcasting, and some C-Span. Keep your newspaper for coupon savings and get a good one for reading information and analysis.

Meet with other intelligent people of integrity at publc meetings and figure out how to change your family and friends behavior to a sane, humanistic outlook.

Live as simple a life as possible and support worthy heroes like Bradley Manning, Colleen Crowley, the wonderful people who give us alternative web sites, etc.

Talk to young people and give them an alternative picture.
+5 # Guest 2010-07-29 15:34
The real problem is that a majority of Americans just don't pay attention unless something occurs that "directly" affects them. The fact that 9+ years of war "are" directly affecting them hasn't sank in to those wearing Tea bags on their ball caps, those playing video games, sexting or otherwise disconnected from the reality of our ever increasingly corrupt nation. Bottom is where we are headed and from there the only place is up. Wikileaks news will fall on, a guesstimate, 225 million deaf and "dumb" American ears.
+6 # Guest 2010-07-29 15:36
Until the general public has a vested interest in what goes on in other countries, how much deliberate harm we do and how much of our treasure is wasted and stolen, it will remain a ho hum matter.

If we do not draft citizens into the military but insist on outsourcing to overpaid contractors no one will become aware that outsourced wars are a vicious, expensive and destructive method for the GOP to enrich its major donors but it is in no way beneficial to the bottom 90% of our populace.
+1 # Guest 2010-07-29 17:32
I wish that people would stop referring to the radically far-right Republican party as the GOP, i.e., "Grand Old Party".
+5 # Guest 2010-07-29 23:15
Kalpal, you are right, until there is a draft where many of our citizens will see their sons and daughters die or come back maimed body and soul, I don't think our people will wake up and protest loudly.

I believe it is only about one percent of our population that is fighting and dying. All too many of them are fighting in order to get an education??? THEY GET AN EDUCATION ALL RIGHT. A TERRIBLE EDUCATION.

This is exactly what the right wants. A small percentage to avoid an uprising, and keep the money coming in to the merchants of death. They get richer every day while our country as a whole gets poorer. We have less money for education, so we fall further and further behind India and China. We are creating a vast underclass almost forced to go into the military.

America is this really what we want. LET'S WAKE UP AND STOP THE MADNESS.
+4 # Guest 2010-07-29 23:39
Kalpal, again you are right. More of our people need to understand how much harm we have done to people in other countries, and how it comes back to haunt us.

It has worried me for years that we produce too little of the goods we need.

It makes us too vulnerable. Remember the tainted foods, toys and pet food we got from China a few years ago? Unfortunately
there is something we DO produce: WEAPONS

And we produce so many, that in too many conflicts we arm BOTH sides. In my book THAT IS INCREDIBLY IMMORAL
+3 # Guest 2010-07-29 16:47
I think part of the problem is that our society is ever prone toward the use of euphemisms. We can hear the phrase "collateral damage" without hearing in the least that this means slaughtered, murdered, mangled, human beings stripped of the dignity of even being considered human beings. To say "collateral damage" is the ultimate in dehumanizing the men, women, children and seniors we have incinerated or blown to pieces or eviscerated in one manner or another...all in our very own names. We completely forget that we are the defacto participants of the most tragic rape of decency our civilization is capable of and that we obliterate every single argument that could possibly be made to claim our own very right to exist. The terror and death that we inflict vastly disproportionat e to anything we risk is so awful that we hide behind such phrases of such banality of evil to disguise the fact that we are complicit in human degradation that defies our own very humanity. For shame on we stupid animals.
0 # Guest 2010-07-31 10:33
As I take a look at the picture of Asan Bibi, the 9 year old girl pictured above the article who has burn cream on her, I am quite puzzled that no one is addressing her humanity or our collective guilt for her injuries and the probable murder of child playmates and innocent relatives and villagers whom we have decided to destroy for some greater purpose such as our war on terrorism or something like that. Will no one confess that by their silence or their refusal to rebel that they are just as reponsible for Asan Bibi's injuries as if they had burned her by their own hand? Will no one take responsibility for the brutality done in their name? Have we sunken so deeply that the pain of Asan Bibi doesn't mean a damn thing to any of us? Where is the shame? Where is the outrage? Have we so lost our souls as a people that we cannot unequivocally condemn the killing done in our name of so many innocents? Are we worth the cost for our existence that we are inflicting on others? Speak up!
+1 # Guest 2010-07-31 11:26
John Cory, as a journalist of conscience I beg of you the courage to answer this question, clearly and unequivacly:

If we, the American people, continue to pay taxes for the war efforts that are killings so many innocent people, whom we call collateral damage, and fail to rebel against this injustice, are we not all murderers as though these deaths were by our very own hands?

A secondary question is this, if you'd like to comment: is there a discernable American concept of "justice" alive any more, or did we kill it along with the God we used to worship to?

I am pleading for an opinion. I'm trying to figure out if our nation has a soul left or if we buried it along with our dead from the Vietnam war of which we are both veterans.
+7 # disgusted American 2010-07-29 17:08

You say that our (outsourced) wars are a vicious, expensive and destructive method for the GOP to enrich its major donors . . .

This also applies to Democrats. They eat at the same trough as Republicans while the two parties play good cop, bad cop. We really have a one-party system.

And, yes, re the 225 mil deaf and dumb Americans. This is an "I've got mine" society and the downfall of this nation. The politicians are very aware of this and are also most interested in creating divisiveness as in Divide and Conquer.
+1 # Guest 2010-07-29 18:29
I feel your pain disgusted. Sorry to use the ol' Clinton metaphor it just seemed to be how I feel today. Yeah, the Democrats certainly leave a helluva lot to be desired. Still, I feel tied to the whipping post. The Repub's will give me 20 lashes and the Dems only ten. I'm just going for less pain until we can take the whip away and somehow find our way to sanity. Something massive is going to have to happen to engage people again. In every revolution one man has a vision. The problem, for the last 30 years, that man was Ronald Reagan.
+5 # Guest 2010-07-29 21:00
What if it was your children? And here we are with a diminishing economy while our military is spending us into a black hole that will leave us on an economic ash heap! These are dark times and I don't see how we will recover without jobs while spending trillions. The American people need to know as much as possible so we can make educated decisions and not be seduced by Corporate lies any longer - too much is at stake.
+2 # Guest 2010-07-30 09:04
Howard Zinn was right:"No flag is large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people." i weep for my country.
+2 # Guest 2010-07-30 10:49
Is it safe to say that the vast majority of Americans just don't want to know anything that diverts them from what they must do (work) and what they want to do (have fun)? And the rest of us can be thankful for Reader Supported News, Truthout, Huff Post, Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, etc. MSM now caters to the fun crowd as more entertainment than factual news. I say--let them go, they deserve each other (let them eat cake). Let's protect these truth tellers for the truth seekers.
+2 # Guest 2010-07-30 11:48
Barbara, you are partially right, for it is actually worse. too many do NOT WANT to talk about the difficult issues we are facing.
If you bring it up they turn the conversation to other topics, and it HURTS US ALL, when a large segment of our population is not involved UNTIL SOMETING GET'S THEM WORKED UP, as last summer, the healthcare?? then they wake up and scream blody murder, LITTERALLY.
What happens in the country needs constant attention from ALL of us. If you are not involved, if you don't vote, you really can't complain.
I try to engage younger people, push them to do more than complain. I try to make them understand that it is THEIR FUTURE. They need to inform themselves and let their voices be heard, preferably in a positive way.
+2 # Guest 2010-07-30 13:45
Apparently some 92 thousand documents were leaked. What I'd like to know is who read them - 1, 5, 10, 100 analysts? At one page per document that's 92,000 pages. I've read a lot of interesting books but nowhere near that many pages. Okay, okay, what's my point? All we need to read is ONE document or maybe two or three - like the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights and a few others. It's all there, as you know. From a symbol of hope, America has morphed into a symbol for death and destruction - mainly of people in other countries. Which connects neatly to the race issue. America is lynching people all over the world.
But let's not look back, let's look forward. Sorry, folks, more of the same. If any of you know global karma, please let me know what's next. Meanwhile I hope you all have a power to pray to. Pete Edler Stockholm
+3 # Guest 2010-07-30 14:32
... or, more simply put - Osama bin Laden is dead, long live Obama bin Bush. Pete Edler, member Swedish Writers Union, Stockholm

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