“In a time of universal deceit, to tell the truth is a revolutionary act.”
— George Orwell
(aside: my first brush with this quote was on the Antibalas t-shirt i got in NYC in 2001.)
re: the current wikileaks situation : everyone i know seems to be amused by the situation and rooting for the hacker, possibly because the theoretical repercussions are so frightening you can only laugh, combined with heated debates about free speech and serious conversations about what this reveals about global government security, accountability and transparency.
my childhood friend who works for the State Dept. shared this:
“There have been examples in history in which official conduct has been made public in the name of exposing wrongdoings or misdeeds. This is not one of those cases. In contrast, what is being put on display in this cache of documents is the fact that American diplomats are doing the work we expect them to do. They are helping identify and prevent conflicts before they start. They are working hard every day to solve serious practical problems – to secure dangerous materials, to fight international crime, to assist human rights defenders, to restore our alliances, to ensure global economic stability. This is the role that America plays in the world. This is the role our diplomats play in serving America. And it should make every one of us proud.
The work of our diplomats doesn’t just benefit Americans, but also billions of others around the globe. In addition to endangering particular individuals, disclosures like these tear at the fabric of the proper function of responsible government.
People of good faith understand the need for sensitive diplomatic communications, both to protect the national interest and the global common interest. Every country, including the United States, must be able to have candid conversations about the people and nations with whom they deal. And every country, including the United States, must be able to have honest, private dialogue with other countries about issues of common concern. I know that diplomats around the world share this view – but this is not unique to diplomacy. In almost every profession – whether it’s law or journalism, finance or medicine or academia or running a small business – people rely on confidential communications to do their jobs. We count on the space of trust that confidentiality provides. When someone breaches that trust, we are all worse off for it. And so despite some of the rhetoric we’ve heard these past few days, confidential communications do not run counter to the public interest. They are fundamental to our ability to serve the public interest.”
that Orwell quote has been a favorite moral rudder of mine for years, and i also agree (gasp) with Ron Paul’s tweet today that “In a free society, we are supposed to know the truth. In a society where truth becomes treason, we are in big trouble.” but while i wholeheartedly support the maximum amount of government accountability and transparency as is possible without compromising security, i have to say i agree with HRC and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, who said that an “open and transparent government is something that the President believes is truly important. But the stealing of classified information and its dissemination is a crime“.
despite the fact that Wikileaks has done admirable, award-winning work for human rights in the past, if i had to vote one way or another right now today i’d say the “free speech” argument doesn’t apply here, that Assange should be prosecuted, despite the fact that people say if the State Dept./Dept. of Defense had better security this wouldn’t have happened, therefore it’s their fault, not his (common hacker defense).
However, even though i believe he should be prosecuted, i still deeply respect him for what he has done.Filed in politics and news, QOTD | Tagged with orwell, wikileaks | Comment (1)