Local Stories, Events
Ref. : Civic Events
Ref. : Arts & Education Events
Ref. : Public Service Notices
Books, Films, Arts & Education
Ref. : Letters to the editor
Health Care & Environment
11.18 Air pollution levels ‘forcing families to move out of cities’ [like from desertification, lack of drinkable water and rising oceans, there will also be pollution-caused immigration until humans fix things]
11.17 Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds [Climate catastrophe is increasingly likely without worldwide organization, funding and commitment to winning THE WAR AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING.]
11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]
11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]
11.15 The long read: The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]
11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]
11.12 This Land is Your Land: The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.19 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver 11/18/2018 (HBO) [29:26 video]
11.19 Trump Says He Was 'Fully Briefed' and Also 'Not Briefed Yet' But Either Way Saudi Crown Prince 'Absolutely' Not Involved Because Trump Knows 'Everything That Went On' Without Listening to Tape of Khashoggi Murder
11.19 'We Need New Leaders, Period': Progressive Newcomers Urge Democrats to Embrace Bold Agenda or Face Primary Challenges [Current Democrat leaders are highly compromised by corporate donations]
11.18 Trump says Pelosi deserves speakership, offers Republican votes [An affirmation of Pelosi's unsuitability]
11.18 Khanna to Pelosi: Don't Just Create Green New Deal Select Committee, Make Ocasio-Cortez Its Chair [Will Pelosi earnestly change, or end her career in disgrace?]
11.18 Chuck Schumer, Feckless Hack [Neoliberal Democrats must go!]
11.18 What the State of the VA Tells Us About Trump’s War on Welfare [Privatizing often results in outright fraud and higher costs by private prisons, privatized health insurance and health care, privatized public schools and online "colleges" like Trump University]
11.17 As Energy for Medicare for All Explodes, Steny Hoyer's Plan Includes Waiting for Trump to Help Make Obamacare Better [Another who is unfit to be Democrat leader]
11.17 'A Staggeringly Bad Idea': Outrage as Pelosi Pushes Tax Rule That Would 'Kneecap the Progressive Agenda' [Unfit to be Democrat leader]
11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
11.19 Bankrupt Sears wants to give executives $19 million in bonuses [blatantly immoral and sick to richly reward those who led the company into the bankruptcy]
11.18 Big Pharma Bankrolled Pro-Trump Group As Trump Pushed Pharma Tax Cut [Corruption Central!]
11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]
11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]
International & Futurism
11.18 France demands UK climate pledge in return for Brexit trade deal [Excellent!]
11.17 Thousands gather to block London bridges in climate rebellion [We're losing WWIII because the enemy is invisible while we're like frogs slowly cooking. We aren't informed enough to be alarmed, but must get organized and motivated to fight back. We need a War Plan to ruthlessly pursue the fight of our lives!]
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.
Copyright © 2010 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.
Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.
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.