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Health Care & Environment
02.16 Toxic black snow covers Siberian coalmining region [0:49 video; If its killing us, stop doing it]
02.16 Renewable energy will be world's main power source by 2040, says BP [But in America's capitalistic bubble, bribed-to-be-biased media and government defy reality]
02.16 What the pesticides in our urine tell us about organic food [What does inaction tell us about capitalism and our government?]
02.14 Exposure to Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Risk for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Meta-Analysis and Supporting Evidence [If its killing us, make it illegal]
02.14 To avoid environmental catastrophe, everything must change [Consider why this headline is laughable or confusing to many, if not most, Americans...]02.13 Study Shows Toxic Pesticide Levels in Families Dropped by 60% After One-Week Organic Diet [2:10 video; Produce and canned vegetables laced with toxic chemicals—from fertilizers and herbicides, too—must be quickly phased out to use safe organic alternatives]
News Media Matters
02.16 We Shouldn't Stick Our Heads In The Sand, But We Do It Anyway [26:46 audio; Fear like Trump & Fox News incite makes us avoid unpleasant information we need to know]
02.15 Samantha Bee: Fox News 'soiling themselves over the Green New Deal' [video clips from Samantha Bee, Seth Meyers and Stephen Colbert]
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
02.20 ‘Sustained and ongoing’ disinformation assault targets Dem presidential candidates [If you can sense them, block them!]
02.18 Dictator Trump
02.20 Despite the slaughter in Yemen, Britain is still chasing arms sales [and the Great-Again-America is too...Capitalism without morality is horrible]
Economics & Corrupting-Capitalism
02.13 The Green New Deal offers radical environmental and economic change [For the survival of life on earth, capitalism must be effectively regulated or banned]
02.12 Climate and economic risks 'threaten 2008-style systemic collapse' [Willfull ignorance of Trump, Republicans, corporate-media and corporate-Democrats is steadfast, if not worsening]
02.11 Trump offers socialism for the rich, capitalism for everyone else [and the poor will die out like the insects]
International & Futurism
02.20 House report lays bare White House feud over Saudi nuclear push [Its hard to keep up with all the criminal crap going on...]
02.18 Hate-Fest in Warsaw
Thursday, 9 December 2010
None of the documents released by WikiLeaks were top secret
That Afghanistan is corrupt is not news. Just how corrupt is news.
According to a report by Scott Shane, Mark Mazzetti and Dexter Filkins of the New York Times, WikiLeaks exposes how, “From hundreds of diplomatic cables, Afghanistan emerges as a looking-glass land where bribery, extortion and embezzlement are the norm and the honest man is a distinct outlier.”
The New York Times report reveals how “ ...the collection of confidential diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks and made available to a number of publications, offers a fresh sense of its pervasive nature, its overwhelming scale and the dispiriting challenge it poses to American officials who have made shoring up support for the Afghan government a cornerstone of America’s counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan.”
Several commentators have complained of the embarrassment engendered by the WikiLeaks exposure. Washington Post commentator Charles Krauthammer claims that WikiLeaks have caused more problems than embarrassment.
First, says Krauthammer, “damage to our war-fighting capacity....Second, we’ve suffered a major blow to our ability to collect information....Third, this makes us look bad, very bad.”
As an example of damage to our war fighting capacity, Krauthammer says, “This will undoubtedly limit our freedom of action against [al-Qaeda’s] Yemeni branch. Translated into reality, that means the CIA will be constrained from going into Yemen at will and assassinating al-Qaeda suspects on its hit list.
But that’s an argument that you might expect from a neocon commentator who pushed for the invasion of Afghanistan and pre-emptive strikes and occupation of Iraq.
Krauthammer’s rationale for his second argument reads, “Success in the war on terror depends on being trusted with other countries’ secrets. Who’s going to trust us now?”
This displays Krauthammer’s ignorance of the US classification system. In the U.S., information is “classified” if it has been assigned one of the three levels: confidential, secret, or top secret.
If information related to “the war on terror” is vital to others' trust or US security, it should have been classified top secret. None of the documents released by WikiLeaks were top secret. “By law," as stated on Wikipedia, "information may not be classified merely because it would be embarrassing or to cover illegal activity; information may only be classified to protect national-security objectives.”
“Third, this makes us look bad, very bad,” writes Krauthammer. “What’s appalling is the helplessness of a superpower that not only cannot protect its own secrets but shows the world that if you violate its secrets—massively, wantonly and maliciously—there are no consequences.”
If there are consequences that should be imposed, they should fall to the US government. They complained bitterly about how Afghan informants' names were included in the WikiLeaks report, thus endangering the informants.
However, Australian investigative journalist John Pilger reported that prior to the release of the Afghan War Diary in July, WikiLeaks contacted the White House in writing, asking that it identify names that might draw reprisals, but received no response.
Yet Krauthammer has called the WikiLeaks documents “sabotage” and concludes by saying, “I’m not advocating that we bring out of retirement the KGB proxy who, on a London street, killed a Bulgarian dissident.”
If that’s not what Krauthammer advocates, why does he even mention such a fate in his hammering of WikiLeaks?
Countries and organizations need to protect their valid secrets with the right kind of classification.
Countries and organizations need to protect their valid secrets with the right kind of classification. Laws concerning classifications were not created to allow careless failure to protect legitimate national interests.
At the same time, classification should not be used as a shield to inhibit whistle-blowers and to prevent public disclosures of activity that should be exposed.
Transparency precludes keeping secrets that should not be secret.
Dr. Balles is a retired American university professor and freelance writer who has lived in the Middle East for over 30 years years. © 2010 Paul J. Balles. His stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on December 9, 2010.