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02/12/2010 / doctorjonx

Moral standards

I found an extremely thourough, well-written and clear post about the whole Wikileaks affaire; it is a post by Glenn Greenwald, a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York.
I do think many of the opinions stated in the post are largely shareable and insightful.

For example, Glenn states that the standards applied in judgeing Assange’s behaviour are

quite a rigorous moral standard

so he takes the challenge and suggests to apply those very same standards to other stories – how about:
the most destructive “anarchic exercise in ‘freedom'” the planet has known for at least a generation:  the “human disaster” known as the attack on Iraq, which Klein supported?  That didn’t result in the imprisonment of “a single foreign national,” but rather the deaths of more than 100,000 innocent human beings, the displacement of millions more, and the destruction of a country of 26 million people.  Are those who supported that “anarchic exercise in ‘freedom'” — or at least those responsible for its execution — also “criminals who should be in jail”?“.

Well, that’s worth a thought, isn’t it?
Basically, Greeenwald’s pamphlet spawns from an article by Time’s Joe Klein, even though he’s not there just to put the blame on Klein; in fact:
his commentary is merely illustrative of what I’m finding truly stunning about the increasingly bloodthirsty two-minute hate session aimed at Julian Assange, also known as the new Osama bin Laden.  The ringleaders of this hate ritual are advocates of — and in some cases directly responsible for — the world’s deadliest and most lawless actions of the last decade.  And they’re demanding Assange’s imprisonment, or his blood, in service of a Government that has perpetrated all of these abuses and, more so, to preserve a Wall of Secrecy which has enabled them.

And there’s a major question mark that Greenwald throws on the table, that is:
Do WikiLeaks critics believe it’d be best if all that were kept secret, if we remained ignorant of it, if the world’s most powerful factions could continue to hide things like that?  Apparently.  When Joe Klein and his media comrades calling for Assange’s head start uncovering even a fraction of secret government conduct this important, then they’ll have credibility to complain about WikiLeaks’ “excessive commitment to disclosure.”  But that will never happen

How could we disagree with that? And, also, how could we not subscribe that:
It is a “scandal” when the Government conceals things it is doing without any legitimate basis for that secrecy.  Each and every document that is revealed by WikiLeaks which has been improperly classified — whether because it’s innocuous or because it is designed to hide wrongdoing — is itself an improper act, a serious abuse of government secrecy powers.  Because we’re supposed to have an open government — a democracy —  everything the Government does is presumptively public, and can be legitimately concealed only with compelling justifications.   That’s not just some lofty, abstract theory; it’s central to having anything resembling “consent of the governed.”
But we have completely abandoned that principle; we’ve reversed it.  Now, everything the Government does is presumptively secret; only the most ceremonial and empty gestures are made public

even if, as far as this last quote goes, I, as an Italian, would feel rather awkward in saying that here we’re supposed to have a democracy – better, we’re supposed to leave in a Videocracy :-/

Cheers

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