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Monday, December 6, 2010

No Negotiation With WikiTerrorists

If there were any doubt that WikiLeaks is not about open government, but giving aid and comfort to enemies of the U.S., then the latest release of a State Department document listing facilities vital to U.S. security ends any doubt. 

The document is described by the BBC -- hardly a right-wing organization -- as a terrorist wish list:
A long list of key facilities around the world that the US describes as vital to its national security has been released by Wikileaks.

In February 2009 the State Department asked all US missions abroad to list all installations whose loss could critically affect US national security.

The list includes pipelines, communication and transport hubs.

Several UK sites are listed, including cable locations, satellite sites and BAE Systems plants.

BBC diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus says this is probably the most controversial document yet from the Wikileaks organisation....
The critical question is whether this really is a listing of potential targets that might be of use to a terrorist, our correspondent says.

The cable contains a simple listing. In many cases towns are noted as the location but not actual street addresses, although this is unlikely to stop anyone with access to the internet from locating them.

There are also no details of security measures at any of the listed sites.

What the list might do is to prompt potential attackers to look at a broader range of targets, especially given that the US authorities classify them as being so important.
There is no possible justification for the release of this document other than to harm the U.S.  The document has nothing to do with policy or diplomacy or any of the other excuses used for the release of diplomatic cables.

In related news, Julian Assange is renewing his threat to release his "insurance" file, supposedly the most sensitive documents, if he is arrested or WikiLeaks shut down.

I say we call Assange's bluff, even if it is not a bluff.  No negotiation with terrorists.

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  1. I couldn't agree more, this guy is a threat to the entire world (not just America), and allowing him to call the shots and dictate terms is absolutely out of the question.

    (Which means, of course, that BO will be phoning him up for a no-preconditions beer summit so he can give Assange a flirty bow before he embraces him with all the love he reserves for people who are out to destroy America.)

  2. I am not predisposed to defending Wikileaks but it sure seems to me that they are not the real problem here. The real problem is that they were able to get so much information so easily from traitors on the US government payroll.

    And I still haven't heard anyone explain why Wikileaks is any different from the NYT who, as we know, selectively release damaging nationals secrets when it makes certain politicians look bad.

    It seems to me that we should be questioning why so much of these "secrets" are secret in the first place. It is impossible to keep secrets if everything our government officials do is stamped "Top Secret". That, to me, is the real problem. I maintain that the world would be in a better place were much of this information not secret in the first place.

  3. Show diplomacy is what state dinners and front page handshakes are about. Effective diplomacy entails frank, off the record dealings and negotiations and intradepartmental assessments.

    Some of us are living in a state of abject adolescence, if critics contend that US diplomacy would be able to proceed were there no state secrets or protected internal communications. Same goes for commerce and corporations, with respect to their confidential information.

    Of course, where there's suspicion of corruption and evidence of malfeasance, there are legal avenues to take and whistleblowers to encourage. Go for it, NYT. Extra-legal exposure is easier to understand in cases of the Big Lie and collusion, such as evidenced by the hacked IPCC emails. Not interested, NYT?

    Assange's supporters should ask him and themselves why they're not clamoring for the internal memos and docs of the UN to be outed. Or of Iran, China, Venezuela, Russia, and the usual suspects. How can his singling out and dumping on the US be anything but targeted political aggression?

  4. brer rabbit: I don't see these leaks being damaging only to the US. Looks to me like everyone is upset. China, Russia, Ecuador, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and so on.

    Too many secrets. We needed Wikileaks to tell us that Saudi Arabia is the biggest financier of terrorism? We needed Wikileaks to tell us that China ordered the hacking of Google?

    A few days ago, China revealed a new jet that was a virtual clone of a new Russian jet. Years ago, both the Soviet Union and the Europeans produced exact clones of their top-secret SSTs simultaneously. In the early 50s, we offered the Russians the secret of the H-bomb and they turned it down because of they already had stolen the secrets from their spies that riddled the Manhattan Project. So who benefited from you and me being the only ones without access to "sensitive" secrets? People who make a living selling national "secrets".

    If your comment "some of us living in abject adolescence" was directed at me, you are dangerously naive. I don't share your blind trust in widespread secrecy in government, even our government.

    Ninety-nine percent of government should take place out in the open. We can't even get our Congress to read bills that haven't even been written before they vote on them. We could stand to release a lot more secrets before I get start to get concerned. Somewhere in there, I am sure that there are important secrets, but I haven't seen them yet these Wikileaks.

  5. Call his bluff, indeed. He's threatening to release secrets unless we let him continue to release secrets? As if he could do orders of magnitude more damage and has been holding back so far? All the damaging secrets are really just specifics about things that someone could reasonably suspect was true anyway. More would be bad, but I doubt there is anything more damaging than what he's already done, so lets bring him down now!

  6. As the holiday season approaches I look forward to the gathering of my extend family...as I'm sure many of us do. This year I'm sure some of the liberal matriarchs will be praising Assange for his self-described campaign to bring openness and transparency and whatever other amorphous feel-goodism they'll predictably gush about.

    There is a perverse side of my that is imagining the dead silence around the table if, in the spirit of openness, I start cataloging some of the family's secrets. You know...the things-not-talked about that every family has. "Say, Uncle Bill, why, exactly, did cousin Chris (your son) call me from jail last year looking for bail money?" For a once-removed cousin: "Carol...what ever happened to that boyfriend you had last summer? You know...the one who you quit talking about around the time of your abortion?" And to my two aging, uber-liberal aunts, "You remember that little post-rum punch conversation you had last Christmas about Grandpa's money? How'd that work out for you?" Or even the seemingly harmless (as in...it ain't no secret) "In the spirit of openness, Aunt Lib, we're all kind of wondering if you're going to have thirds. Aren't you about 100 lbs overwieght?"

    I'm betting that many of us could quite easily rip apart the fragile family peace with just a little 'openness'. What about the under-current of things-not-said at the average Monday-morning company teleconference?

    No...openness and transparency isn't on Wikileaks agenda. Its destruction, pure and simple.

  7. The Other McCain was right. Four words: Predator drone, hellfire missile.

  8. @pasadenaphil Simply because we find it difficult to safeguard national secrets that possibly have security consequences doesn't mean that we should not make the effort. All of those rogue nations that are 'upset' over these leaks are just making a show over nothing, and could be providing some amount of cover for wikileaks. The vast majority of information wikileaks has released is damaging to the interests of the US.

    @Brer Rabbit: Have you thought about starting your own blog? I look forward to reading your comments to posts here.

  9. Simple fact of the matter is that if we very publically put a bullet in his brain, whomever he left minding the Wikileaks store will have to find themselves wondering if they might not be next and they might just decide that discretion is the better part of valor. If we do not, then he will still have that document and WILL publish it at some point. so it is better to go ahead and shoot the bastard and deal with the consequences now than to wait and let the consequences grow. When you start playing hard ball with the big boys, expect to get hurt. At this level of abstraction there are no laws and no rules except one. win. Assange has managed to grab the Tiger by the tail, but he doesn't have an effective plan for dealing with the other end of the Tiger. That is a good way to get dead.

  10. I responded to you, pasadenaphil, but the militant Etherist vaporized my comment before I could post. I need an Assange to help me recover it.

  11. Thanks, quiznilo! But I can't write and am a techno illiterate, as well :}

    Don't we all think now, that if State had ANY sense left, it's in a CYA and "making lemonade" mode these days and writing less than forthright, even fictional assessments, just in case? Meanwhile, the apparatchiks must be scrambling for effective comm protocols and killer encoding/ stenographics because someone let them in on the secret that this is the 21st C. and hackers rule.

    Maybe they should hire 256 bit key Assange for cyber security. He seems fairly proficient at it.

  12. Lilac Sunday, a bullet in the head is cheaper.

  13. .

    "No negotiation with terrorists." Again with the terrorists gibberish.

    Why does freedom of information cause you to be so terrorized that you soil yourself?

    The information being 'leaked' by the WikiLeaks document dumps shows groups of conspirators totally committed to performing nefarious acts and lying about it all the while they perform these acts. The very same group of conspirators then tell you that the leaker is a 'terrorist!'

    And _YOU_ (William A. Jacobson, Associate Clinical Professor, Cornell Law School) of course blindly accept the stories by the conspirators.

    FYI - Love the shoot the messenger solutions. Lets us terrorize them. It does not bother some to be lied to, what really pisses them off is that some smarty pants is telling them they are being lied to.

    Ema Nymton

  14. This has out Monty Pythoned the original-- Assange's arrest in Britain for having sabotaged a condom in Sweden.

  15. I agree with telling the Assange "Publish and be damned".

    Then I say we extradite the little twit, try him for espionage, and send him before a firing squad when he's convicted.

    The next mo-fo waiting in the wings to expose US secrets might pause a little, if he knew we were actually serious about protecting our interests...

  16. .

    For all those ‘hang’em high’, ‘shoot’em in the head’ types who are unhappy at being told you are being lied to, what’s the problem? As long as it was alright for Dick Cheney and the Office of the Vice President to conspire to tell me the name of a top-secret CIA operative (Valerie Plame Wilson) then why all the hubbub about Wikileaks now?

    Ema Nymton

  17. "For all those ‘hang’em high’, ‘shoot’em in the head’ types who are unhappy at being told you are being lied to, what’s the problem? As long as it was alright for Dick Cheney and the Office of the Vice President to conspire to tell me the name of a top-secret CIA operative (Valerie Plame Wilson) then why all the hubbub about Wikileaks now?"

    This is sarcasm. Isn't it? Or do you not know that it was someone in the State Department who revealed that Wilson's wife was, a not so secret, member of the CIA.