Tuesday, October 26, 2010

More Wiki-linkage

First, Victor Davis Hanson

Key section:

So we now have a war within a war — one to defeat the enemy, and quite another, to preemptively backtrack, footnote, and explain the context of one’s actions for future armchair judges and jurors who will adjudicate battle behavior from the library carrel. Note here that no other government bureau or private entity functions under quite such rules of engagement — the communications of Mr. Obama’s staff are not public; we don’t read the internal memos of Warren Buffett or Bill Gates; the minutes of New York Times editorial meetings remain private; we don’t even get to read the private communications and discussions that the often petulant Julian Assange conducts with his own WikiLeaks team and learn whether there is dissent among his staff over his own ethics and methods. Surely a leaker of any and all things should not demand privacy for himself?

Note also that there is no attempt at systematic or coherent leaking. WikiLeaks mostly targets the West. It may now and then leak to us something about dastardly behavior by an African or Chinese bureau or religious sect, but it really does not tend to uncover things about the Russian, Iranian, Cuban, or Chinese armed forces in any way commensurate with its fixation on the U.S. military. It either has no wish to, has no means to, or is very afraid of the consequences — in the fashion of the reaction to the Danish cartoons — should it choose to do so. I suppose that WikiLeaks believes that the Western military can “handle” a climate of zero confidentiality and still protect the likes of Mr. Assange and his team. After all, as a high-profile, elite Westerner, he assumes a level of comfort, security, civil rights, freedom, and affluence in his many international travels and operations not accorded to most who live under other systems, and impossible without the protective umbrella of the military he seems so bent on destroying.

Crispin at Wings Over Iraq

Julian Assange's tirade against the West, and the US in particular, is little removed from classic have-and-have-not rhetoric endemic to revolutionaries from Karl Marx to Saul Alinsky. Yet, it differs from have/have-not theory in one important respect. In classic have/have-not theory, "have-nots" must assume power before adopting the negative traits of the "haves", restructuring the rules of the system in order to retain power. In Julian Assange's Wikileaks world, both the "haves" and the "have-nots" survive by maintaining their secrets. The West, specifically the American Department of Defense, retains power via a monopoly on secrets. Hypocritically, Julian Assange's Wikileaks can not maintain total transparency, either. In fact, one might argue, that the Department of Defense has acted with even greater transparency than Wikileaks has.

..and Brave Sir Julian, while being a legend in his own mind is hardly a legend as an objective matter of fact. What is more, he leaves much collateral damage in his wake, and is all too eager to blame that fact on the collateral damage

Indeed, the leaked documents, according to the Pentagon, are no risk to intelligence sources or methods, though some note that the Taliban may still retaliate against nearly 1,800 "collaborators" identified in the leaked documents.

Not only has Wikileaks failed to produce the desired effects among the governments of the West, it's failed in its duty towards its membership as well.

Wikileaks' most notorious source, Private First Class Bradley Manning, is in almost as dire a predicament. Facing up to 52 years of federal imprisonment, his fate has scarcely perturbed Julian Assange, who dismissed Manning as if he were unavoidable collateral damage.

Manning is not the first instance of "collateral damage" resulting from Wikileaks' exploits. Though Wikileaks boasted earlier this year that that none of its sources had ever been knowingly compromised, this is not entirely true. In August 2007, Wikileaks released a report from the Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights, linking the Kenyan police to the torture or death of nearly 500 men. Shortly thereafter, the Kenyan police assassinated two human rights activists. Assange has disavowed any responsibility by Wikileaks, instead claiming that the two murdered activists were not "acting in an anonymous way".

Mr. Assange has had his fifteen minutes of fame. Though he has destroyed the lives of countless compatriots, he's done little to undermine, influence, or disrupt US policy. If anything, he's merely confirmed the worst accusations about America's supposed ally, Pakistan, and indicted Iran in supporting violence within Iraq. In that regard, Assange is hardly super-empowered.
And the Washington Times, via BlackFive suggests something I mentioned once or twice, CYBERWAR. Unleash the full power of this armed and operational army of code weilding bots. Bwhahahah! Give Wikileaks a technogeektastic version of the Jawa treatment, complete with C3P0 providing the one fingered salute:

Relentless attacks on the servers and sites dispensing this classified information would have a debilitating effect on the leakers' morale and help widen the fissures that already have appeared in the group. This battle could offer some practical experience to American cyberwarriors who one day will face even greater threats from state-sponsored Web war.

And of course, make every effort to convince Brave Sir Julian, the Knight of the Woeful Countenance, Pasty Complexion, and Multi-Hued Coif, that The Shadow..er..they..I mean THEY are around every corner waiting for him, as inevitable as a guilty conscience.