Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Enough with the leaks already

OK, up to now I've wanted to give Julian Assange the benefit of the doubt. Maybe posting all those war reports did give us information we needed to have (though there don't seem to have been any surprises in them), and the contention that he put Afghan informants and villages at risk doesn't seem so strong now that after, what, four months, there've been no reports that the Taliban put anybody in the reports on the hit list. Maybe they couldn't stand the sheer boredom of reading the reports. I certainly didn't make it very far into the data.

Diplomatic cables are dicier. I don't personally subscribe to the idea that all diplomatic communications should be conducted in the light of day and with full disclosure to all concerned, but I can understand that someone else might believe that. In any case, I think it's a hopeless ideal to pursue, sort of like campaign finance reform; diplomats are going to sneak off into dark corners, and money is going to flow into campaigns, no matter what you do.

But now Wikileaks has published a list of sites "that, if lost, might “critically impact” public health or the national security of the United States."

I don't see how this contributes in any way to the "open dialogue" that Assange claims to support.

I don't see how it can be interpreted in any way other than as an attack on the United States.

Given the nature of the Internet, it may not be possible to prevent this kind of information from getting out. But can we at least stop pretending that the person who published it had noble motives? Anybody who defends Assange now should understand that they are defending an active enemy of this country.

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